Twelve Days of Christmas, National Elk Refuge Style

In March of 2013, my husband and I took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and we took a tour of the National Elk Refuge.  I finally got around to editing those photos, and I realized I had an actual picture of seven swans a-swimming!  Well, you know where that had to lead.

Okay, do you have the tune in your head?  Here we go!

On a cold day of touring, my husband and I got to see:

12 elk a-lazing, and sometimes a-playing —

Dozens of elk on the refuge.

Dozens of elk on the refuge.

Really really relaxed.

Really really relaxed.

A collared elk.

A collared elk.

Bull elk.

Bull elk.

Practice scrimmage.

Practice scrimmage.

 

11 buffleheads swimming —

Buffleheads. The males have large white patches on their heads and the females have small ones.

Buffleheads. The males have large white patches on their heads and the females have small ones. (I count 14 ducks in this picture but they are not all Buffleheads.)

(–and some mallards ditto –)

Mallards in the icy pond.

Mallards in the icy pond.

10 bison grazing (out there on the hills somewhere out of camera range) —

See that dark brown patch inside the oval? Bison! Well, possibly.

See that dark brown patch inside the oval? Bison! Well, possibly.

9 mounts displaying —

The mounts in the museum ensure that visitors can get an idea of what elk look like, even in summer when they are up in the mountains. (They wouldn't all fit in one shot.)

The mounts in the museum ensure that visitors can get an idea of what elk look like, even in summer when they are up in the mountains. (They wouldn’t all fit in one shot.)

8 patient ponies —

It was too warm for sleighs, so the draft horses pulled wagons for our tour.

It was too warm for sleighs, so the draft horses pulled wagons for our tour.

(And here it is — the moment we’ve all been waiting for–)

7 swans a-swimming —

Count them! Exactly seven swans a-swimming, with a bunch of ducks.

Count them! Exactly seven swans a-swimming, with a bunch of ducks.

Four of the swans.

Four of the swans.

Could they be any more photogenic?

Could they be any more photogenic?

6 geese a-gazing —

I love this photo because it looks like the geese are studying the ski lift...

I love this photo because it looks like the geese are studying the ski lift…

...and then chatting about it.

…and then chatting about it.

5 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewes.

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewes.

Rocky Mountain bighorn.

Rocky Mountain bighorn.

4 Red-winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird.

 

3 Black-billed Magpies

Black-billed Magpies.

Black-billed Magpies.

A better picture of a magpie, taken a few days later.

A better picture of a magpie, taken a few days later.

2 Barrow’s Goldeneyes

Barrow's Goldeneye pair.

Barrow’s Goldeneye pair.

and a coyote out on the open plain!

Coyote.

Coyote.

I feel so festive I am going to throw in a few bonus pictures!

A pronghorn we saw somewhere in western Wyoming.

A pronghorn we saw somewhere in western Wyoming.

pronghorn-2

And two swans a-strolling!

Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.

Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.