Tag Archives: Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

Western Oklahoma Wildflowers

The wildflowers of western Oklahoma have been waiting four years for the drought to break and it happened this spring.  They burst forth with a tremendous display of color and beauty. These photos were made between May 21st and June 27th, 2015 and are presented in chronological order.

Click on an image and then on left or right to see them larger and sharper. 

Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, State Wildflower of Oklahoma
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, State Wildflower of Oklahoma
Purple Poppy Mallow/Wine Cup. Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Purple Poppy Mallow/Wine Cup, Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket And Honeybee, Harper County, Oklahoma
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket And Honeybee, Harper County, Oklahoma
Spiderwort, Fort Supply Wildlife Management Area
Spiderwort, Fort Supply Wildlife Management Area
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, Near Gage, Oklahoma
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, Near Gage, Oklahoma
Indian Paintbrush, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife  Refuge
Indian Paintbrush, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Spectacle Pod, Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Spectacle Pod, Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Goat's Rue, Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Goat’s Rue, Cooper Wildlife Management Area
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, Cooper WMA
Gaillardia/Indian Blanket, Cooper WMA
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Pale Purple Coneflower, Harper County, Oklahoma
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Cooper WMA
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Cooper WMA
Lemon Monarda, Cooper WMA
Lemon Monarda, Cooper WMA
Tree Cholla, Cooper WMA   Note: This cactus does not commonly occur this far east and this one may have been transplanted before this area was acquired by the state.
Tree Cholla, Cooper WMA
Note: This cactus does not ordinarially occur this far east and this one may have been transplanted before this area was acquired by the state.
Prairie Lilly, Gloss Mountains State Park
Prairie Lilly, Gloss Mountains State Park
Purple Prairie Clover, Gloss Mountains State Park
Purple Prairie Clover, Gloss Mountains State Park
Prairie Coneflower/Mexican Hat
Prairie Coneflower/Mexican Hat, Cooper WMA

Early Autumn In The Wichita Mountains

A selection of photos made from late September through mid October, 2014 in Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.

To see photos larger and sharper, please click anywhere in an image and click on sides to move through them. 

White-tailed Doe Before Sunrise on September 24th
White-tailed Doe Before Sunrise, September 24th
Bull Elk
Bull Elk
Bull Elk Bugling Shortly After Sunrise
Bugling Bull Elk, Shortly After Sunrise, September 24th
Elk Cow At Sunrise On September 25th
Elk Cow At Sunrise, September 25th

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Bull Elk, early Morning October 3rd
Bull Elk, Early Morning, October 3rd
Lone Bison Bull, Late Afternoon, October 3rd
Lone Bison Bull, Late Afternoon, October 3rd
Near Sunset, October 3rd
Near Sunset, October 3rd
Granite Boulders Just After Sunrise, October 4th
Granite Boulders Just After Sunrise, October 4th
White-tailed Buck, Early Morning October 4th
White-tailed Bucks, All Early Morning, October 4th

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Bull Bison, Morning, October 4th
Bison Bull, Morning, October 4th
Maximillian Sunflowers, Mid-morning, October 4th
Maximillian Sunflowers, Mid-morning, October 4th
French Lake Before Sunrise, October16th
French Lake Before Sunrise, October16th
Bull Elk, Early Morning, October 16th
Bull Elk, Early Morning, October 16th

In The Wichita Mountains Again

After many visits over a period of many years, I still find the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge an interesting and challenging place to photograph. The ever-changing weather and light conditions and the variety of wildlife and wildflowers means new opportunities and challenges for each visit.

The bison is the iconic animal of the refuge and is the primary reason this refuge was created.
The bison is the iconic animal of the refuge and is the primary reason this refuge was created.
By 1900, only two small herds totaling 550 wild bison remained in North America. In October, 1907 15 head of bison were transported by rail from the New York Zoological Park to the refuge.
By 1900, only two small herds totaling 550 wild bison remained in North America. In October, 1907 15 head of bison were transported by rail from the New York Zoological Park to the refuge.
The black-tailed prairie dog is another iconic animal of the the prairie and finds a welcome home on the refuge. It is generally not welcome on   ranch land as the many burrows in established prairie dog towns can destroy areas of pasture land and create hazards for livestock.
The black-tailed prairie dog is another iconic animal of the the prairie and finds a welcome home on the refuge. It is generally not welcome on ranch land as the many burrows in established prairie dog towns can destroy pasture land and create hazards for livestock. A young animal is shown in this photo.
The collared lizard, commonly called mountain boomer, likes the rocky, boulder strewn areas of the refuge.
The collared lizard, commonly called mountain boomer, likes the rocky, boulder strewn areas of the refuge.
These lizards are often seen sunning themselves on large boulders. The males are easily identified because they are more colorful than females.
These lizards are often seen sunning themselves on large boulders. The males are easily identified because they are more colorful than females.
Many species of wildflowers are found on the refuge. These are the pale purple coneflower and the thread-leaf thelesperma.
Many species of wildflowers are found on the refuge. These are the pale purple coneflower and the thread-leaf thelesperma.
This great egret is wading in a marshy area of Jed Johnson  Lake, one of several man-man made lakes on the refuge.
This great egret is wading in a marshy area of Jed Johnson Lake, one of several man-made lakes on the refuge.
Seven bison can be seen in the distance as thunderheads are building to the east of the refuge at 4:35 PM on May 31, 2013. This is the day the 2.6 mile wide tornado hit El Reno, Oklahoma, about 85 miles northeast of the refuge.
Seven bison can be seen in the distance as thunderheads are building to the east of the refuge at 4:35 PM on May 31, 2013. This is the day the 2.6 mile wide tornado hit El Reno, Oklahoma, about 85 miles northeast of the refuge.
At 5:49 a towering thunderhead is building.
At 5:49 a towering thunderhead is building.
This view is to the north 16 minutes later.
This view is to the north 16 minutes later.

The preceding images were made on May 31, 2013 and the following photos were made on July 1, 2013.

Sunrise on a hazy morning. The haze was probably smoke from the wildfires burning in states to the west.
Sunrise on a hazy morning. The haze was probably smoke from wildfires burning in states to the west.
Female Painted Bunting
Female Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting
The male painted bunting is perhaps the most colorful songbird in North America.
The male painted bunting is perhaps the most colorful songbird in North America.
The scarlet gilia, also known as standing cypress is one of the more showy wildflowers on the refuge.
The scarlet gilia, also known as standing cypress is one of the more showy wildflowers on the refuge.

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.

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

In southwest Oklahoma, the time worn Wichita Mountains are a remnant of an ancient mountain range which was once majestic, but is still beautiful in its own right.

White-tailed Buck at Sunrise, Wichita Mountains
White-tailed buck at sunrise, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
White-tailed Buck, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
White-tailed buck, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Leavenworth's Eryngo, Wichita Mountains
Leavenworth’s eryngo, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Barrel cactus flowers after a rain, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

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