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.
Really really relaxed.
11 buffleheads swimming —
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.
10 bison grazing (out there on the hills somewhere out of camera range) —
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.)
8 patient ponies waiting —
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.
Four of the swans.
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…
…and then chatting about it.
5 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewes.
Rocky Mountain bighorn.
4 Red-winged Blackbirds
3 Black-billed Magpies
A better picture of a magpie, taken a few days later.
2 Barrow’s Goldeneyes
Barrow’s Goldeneye pair.
and a coyote out on the open plain!
I feel so festive I am going to throw in a few bonus pictures!
A pronghorn we saw somewhere in western Wyoming.
And two swans a-strolling!
Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.
How I love this post, not sure which I love the most, your wonderful photos or your creative counting. Thank you for both and giving me so much to smile about.
“Creative counting,” that’s a good way to put it! I am going to use that! 🙂 Glad you liked it.
You’re welcome to that phrase.. worth it for the smiles. You might like my Genie’s 12 days of Christmas…on Facebook, started yesterday, but as of this morning, I will also be posting it on this blog…
I checked it out and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out! I also read several of your Fossicking Fridays — I can’t believe how much information you pack into those!
Well done. Now the song is stuck in my ear.
Still snow and ice there in March. We went to Yellowstone at the very end of May a few years ago. Lake Yellowstone was still iced over. Some passes in the mountains had just been cleared.
Don’t worry about the song — just watch a little TV and the Honda Holidays or some other repetitive commercial will replace it in no time. 🙂
We went to Jackson on a whim when my husband got some offer he couldn’t refuse from Hotels.com or someplace. Being from the South, we didn’t realize national parks could close! We just missed the snowmobile tours of Yellowstone and were way too early for getting in by car, but we had been there before so we weren’t upset, we just spent our time seeing all the other sites around Jackson and we had a fabulous time.
That’s good. Exploring the less traveled places is usually well worth it.
Haha! We’ve got swans on our local river (the Tweed, bordering Scotland and England) and I’m now going to see if I can find a natural grouping of 7! Not sure I’ll get a picture as charming as that pair 🙂
In doing a little research for this post, I learned that Mute Swans were introduced here from Europe, and are not mute. But in the US they are only found east of the Mississippi. I have taken pictures of swans in Amsterdam so I guess they were Mute Swans. Now I can add another species and location to my life list on eBird!
What a ton of fun this is! You packed a lot of critters into one post–I think my favorite might be those big black-footed swans–they look like they have winter boots on!
I know, I can’t believe how big their feet are. I have one picture that shows the origin of the term “goose-stepping,” only in their case they are “swan-stepping.”
Thanks! That was my old camera which was a Panasonic Lumix, and it focused so easily! I didn’t realize how easily until I had persistent problems with my current camera. It’s like, “Those were the good old days, when I could just snap away and get nice shots.” 🙂
I have included your blog in Interesting Blogs in Friday Fossicking at
Thank you, Chris
Thank you, I will go check out the others as usual! I made the Guinness cookies you had in the links last time and they were a big hit at a party!
So pleased to hear it, they do look good, now I’ll have to get and make some also.
Love love love this post. You rock!
Thank you! Sometimes you get an idea that just kind of tickles you as you write it, and this one was like that for me. I’m glad you like it!
A real delight! Regards Thom (check out the 12 day series on The Immortal Jukebox)
Lovd it, what a hoot! You’ve always got a way of putting things together. Happy New Year too!
Now if I could just get around to it more often! 🙂 Happy New Year to you too!