Monday, 29 July 2013

How to be a cowboy part 2

Things really got going on the "western" part of our holiday today. I had an early start with Owen going birding around the ranch. Bloody hard all the small birds flitting about with no knowledge of their calls. I have arranged a tour later with Lawrence the local bird expert. Lovely morning though and managed to pick up American kestrel, common grackle, am robin, red-tailed and Swainson's hawk.
Then after breakfast the main business of the day - horse-riding. Me, Judith and Yoss decided just to do the trot round the paddock whilst the others got to know their horses and then went off a half-day trek. The rest of us got in the American version of a land-rover and went off on a drive round the ranch to find bison.
 
The ride round the ranch was really interesting. We visited some old buildings where the ranch used to be run from. Totally dilapidated now, but a hive of activity from the wildlife front. Main event was a roosting great-horned owl looking at us crossly from its tree. Also got common nighthawk, western meadowlark, Say's phoebe and broad-tailed hummingbird.

 
We then met up with the herd of a few hundred buffalo, all munching away happily on the plains. The sight of a few million when the settlers first arrived must have been totally awe-inspiring. 
 
For lunch we met up with the intrepid horse-riders where Judith was so desperate for her sandwich she mounted a horse and forded a stream!!
 
Finally around the hot-tub when we got back i managed to find a yellow-warbler in the bushes and some juvenile western wood-peewee's.