A young black-tailed prairie dog sits in a cluster of stiff greenthread.

The Ancient Wichitas

The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma encompasses 60,000 acres of the Wichita Mountains. These low granite mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, were once much taller but have been worn down by the ravages of time.

These photographs were made on May 16, 2012 with the exception of the two of the male eastern collard lizard which were made May 17, 2008.

This photo is from the norther part of the refuge and shows some dead trees which resulted from a large wildfire after the drought of 2011.
This photo is from the northern part of the refuge and shows some dead trees which resulted from a large wildfire during the drought of 2011.

The bison is the iconic mammal of the plains and was re-introduced to the refuge area in 1907 as part of an effort to same it from extinction. If you look closely at the last animal in group, you will see that it is wearing a radio-transmitter collar used to track the animals' movements.
The bison is the iconic mammal of the plains and was re-introduced to the refuge area in 1907 as part of the effort to save it from extinction. If you look closely at the last animal in group, you will see that he is wearing a tracking collar.

The large-flowered tickseed is a common wildflower on the refuge.
The large-flowered tickseed is a common wildflower on the refuge.

A young black-tailed prairie dog sits in a cluster of stiff greenthread.
A young black-tailed prairie dog stands in a cluster of stiff greenthread.

These young prairie dogs are on the alert near the entrance to their burrow.
These young prairie dogs are on the alert near the entrance to their burrow.

Prairie dogs are very social animals and live in large colonies called towns.
Prairie dogs are very social animals and live in large colonies called towns.

Adult female prairie dog having a mid-morning snack of wildflowers.
Adult female prairie dog having a mid-morning snack of wildflowers.

This young prairie dog has also found something to nibble on.
This young prairie dog has also found something to nibble on.

The many huge granite rocks in the refuge create an ideal habitat for reptiles including this female eastern collard lizard.
The many huge granite rocks in the refuge create an ideal habitat for reptiles, including the eastern collard lizard. This one appears to be gravid, the term used for a female reptile carrying eggs.

These lizards, also know locally as mountain boomers, like to sun themselves on the large boulders.
These lizards, also know locally as mountain boomers, like to sun themselves on the large boulders.

The male eastern collard lizard is more colorful than the female and lacks the red-orange bars on the sides of gravid females.
The male eastern collard lizard is more colorful than the female and lacks the red-orange bars on the sides of gravid females.

Although they are not poisonous, they will bite hard given the chance. They are very wary, however and are not easily approached. This one was photographed with a 400mm lens from a distance of several feet.
Although they are not poisonous, they will bite hard given the chance. They are very wary, however and are not easily approached. This one was photographed from a low angle with a 400mm lens at a distance of several feet.
The Charon's Gardens Wilderness area is located in the southern part of the refuge.
The Charon's Gardens Wilderness area is located in the southern part of the refuge.

More images from Wichita Mountains may be located by entering “Wichita Mountains” in the search box at the top of the home page.

All images on this site are copyrighted © by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.

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