Monday, April 27, 2015

A Trip to Arbuckle Wilderness – A Fun and Educational Experience for Everyone


A camel walking right up to the car in front of us.
If you have never taken your children to Arbuckle Wilderness, they are really missing a cool and educational experience. Located just off I-35 near the Davis, Oklahoma exit, Arbuckle Wilderness is a place where you can drive through and feed the animals that will come right up to your vehicle.
At a minimum cost and half price if you are a “local”, you can give your children an up-close and personal view of many different species of animals. You can purchase a large cup of feed for the animals before you go in and they will eat right from the cup as the kids are holding it.


Scimitar horned oryx 
As you drive through the hilly terrain you can see different exotic antelope, such as the scimitar horned oryx as the graze on the green fields or the addax who walked right up to our car.

Your kids can see a buffalo up-close and realize just what a large magnificent animal it is. The buffalo are not very social animals and don’t walk up to the vehicles, but you can get very close and see what it must have been like to come across these huge animals on the plains years ago.

Emu walking towards our car.
Emus, with their beautiful feathers will come right up to your car window and eat right out of your hands. The emu, burros and many type of sheep and goats will walk right alongside your car, just waiting for you to stop and give them a little treat.

What big beautiful eyes!

The giraffe are in a fenced enclosure, but you can drive right up beside the iron fence and the giraffe will actually stick his head in your window and take food from your hand. You and your kids will really get a thrill by actually petting this towering animal and seeing those big beautiful eyes up close!


 This beautiful male ostrich came walking up the road to greet us and it was really amazing to see just how large they are. Remember, with those long necks, they can reach from one side of the car to the other and they love to eat right out of your hand! We left our windows rolled up a bit when they came to visit. We were lucky enough to even see an ostrich egg laying in the field!

There is another enclosure with a white rhino, which is an endangered species. This may be the only opportunity you and your children get to actually see a white rhino up-close. I don’t think anyone has tried to feed this guy and I wouldn’t recommend trying. There was also a rare white tiger, but he was sleeping in the shaded part of his enclosure and we could barely see him.
One of my favorite animals, is the zebra. There were several of them in a fenced area where you could drive your vehicle right up to the fence and feed them out of your hand. I have to admit, I did get a thrill from being able to actually pet a zebra.

Take your camera as you will want to take lots of pictures. For your safety, you are not allowed to get out of your car, but you don’t have to as the animals are so friendly and love to come right up to you and eat out of the cup. It’s not recommended to feed them from your hand, but I have to admit we all did it and no one was bitten. We did get a little slobbery though, so you will want to take some kind of wipey.

I also have to say that the place is becoming a little run down. Their signs need painting and the road is in need of repair. Regardless, this is one of the best places I have been to where you can see, feed and touch animals that many people will never get the opportunity to do. Your children will have an experience they will never forget!
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Photos all taken by me and not for use without my permission.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Wildlife in my “Backyard”

White -tail deer in my front yard.
Photo source: sgbrown aka Rockcreek Photography

Sometimes I have to remember that not everyone that reads my posts are familiar with southern Oklahoma and some may not even be familiar with the animals of the United States. Photography is my hobby and I love taking pictures of the wildlife that is found on our 40 acres here in the country side of southern Oklahoma.
I have decided to write a post telling everyone about what type of wildlife is found here in my little part of the world. I have included some pictures that I have taken while living here over the last 14 years. I have not included birds, as the different birds from my area will be another post.

Fox-tail squirrel watching me, watch him.
Photo source:  sgbrown

Fox-tail squirrel – They get their name from the large fluffy tail that looks similar to that of a fox. Most other squirrel’s tails are not as large and fluffy. They are the largest member of the North American squirrel family. They are found in most eastern states of the US and west to Texas and Oklahoma. They are very common here in southern Oklahoma and love to hang around my bird feeder munching on the sunflower seeds that fall to the ground.

White-tail fawn raising his tail and running back to mama.
Photo source: sgbrown

White-tail deer – They get their name because of the underneath of their tail being white and they will raise their tails when they feel threatened. They are the smallest of the North American deer and can be found from southern Canada to northern parts of South America. They are also very common here in southern Oklahoma and we are fortunate enough to have them come through our place daily. They are one of my favorite subjects to photography.
Coyote in my backyard.
Photo source: sgbrown

Coyote – Some species of coyote can be found in every state of the US, including parts of Alaska, not including Hawaii, and as far south as the Panama Canal. Though not often seen during the day, they can be heard nearly every night here as they gather in packs to hunt. They communicate with each other with different “yapping”, barking and howling sounds. They are not aggressive like their larger cousins, the wolf and are actually quite afraid of man. However, I would not want to run into a pack of them while I was walking in the woods!

Bobcat - Wikimedia Commons

Bobcat – This picture is not my own. It is rather rare to see a bobcat as they mainly hunt during the night and sleep during the daylight hours. They get their name from the short tail they have which appears to have been “bobbed” off. They have black tufts on their ears similar to their larger northern cousins, the lynx. I have only seen 2 or 3 here over the years and have yet to get a good picture of one. They are about twice the size of a large house cat and can weigh up to 40 pounds. Some species of bobcat can be found in nearly every state in the US and southern parts of Canada and as far south as Mexico.

Virginia Possum just raided my cat's food dish!
Photo source:  Rockcreek Photography

Virginia Opossum – They get their name from the first opossum found in the Virginia region back in the early settler days. They are commonly referred to as just “possum”. They can be found in the central and eastern US and were introduced on the west coast during the great depression. They are nocturnal and can be seen often during the evening hours. They are the only marsupials in the US and Canada. They spend much of their time in trees and have a prehensile tail which helps them in climbing. They are known for “playing dead” when threatened.
Nine-banded armadillo - Wikimedia Commons

Nine Banded Armadillo – This picture is not my own. We have many armadillos in my area, but I have yet to get a good picture of one. There are approximately 20 varieties of armadillo and all but one live in Latin America, the only one that calls the US home is the nine-banded armadillo. They are found in the southeastern part of the US with a few being spotted as far north as Illinois and Nebraska. They are mainly active during the night and evening hours and are famous for digging around in my flower beds looking for beetles ants and other insects to eat. Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning, “little armored one”, referring to the bony plates that cover their head, back, legs and tail. They are closely related to anteaters and sloths. 

Cotton-tail rabbit in my front yard

Cotton-tail rabbits – They get their name from their little white fluffy cotton ball tail. There are several species of cottontail rabbits but he Eastern cottontail is the most common. They can be found from Canada to South America and from the East Coast of the US to the Great Plains. They are very common here in my backyard as they love to visit my vegetable garden in the spring and summer months.

Striped skunk looking for bread crumbs I had thrown out to the birds.
Photo source:  sgbrown

Striped Skunk – The striped skunk is the most common species in the US and can be found from coast to coast. They are also found in the very northern parts of Mexico and central and southern Canada. The striped skunk is no different than other skunks who give off that horrible odor when threatened. They are really cute little animals, but not very well like because of their odor. When I see them here, they are usually trying to raid my trash can!
These are the most common animals I find here on our place in the country. I have not included all the turtles, tortoise, lizards and snakes we come across here as the list would be way too long! I hope you have enjoyed my pictures and a bit of information on the common wildlife I have here in my “backyard”. 

 You may also enjoy reading:

White-Tailed Deer - Facts and Information

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It is a Beautiful Spring Morning!

Two Tom Turkey
Good morning on this beautiful day of April 2nd! It is a beautiful spring morning here in southern Oklahoma this morning! It is partly cloudy with a bit of a cool breeze and the wildlife seem to be really enjoying it!
As I stepped out onto my back porch this morning, the sounds of birds singing were all around me. I could hear cardinals, which are usually the loudest, singing to each other from one tree to another. The chickadees, house wrens and tufted titmice were chiming right in. I could hear two owls calling to each other in the distance. Turkey hens were chattering and the toms were gobbling as they did their little dance trying to impress the ladies.

As I stepped around to look in the back yard, there were turkey everywhere! I saw at least 4 toms and 8 hens. The hens seems to be little impressed by the toms doing their dance for them. They just continued on their way, pecking at seeds and insects on the ground. The toms strutted along behind them continuing to “strut their stuff”.
As I stood there watching them, 2 white tail deer came running around the corner of the tree line. They stopped when they first saw all the turkey, but then proceeded to walk amongst them cautiously. The deer aren’t afraid of the turkey, but they don’t really like getting to close to them. I think all the movement makes them a little nervous.

Turkey Love

I don’t want to make this an X-rated post, but I even got to see some “turkey love” this morning. You can’t really see it in the picture, but there is a turkey hen underneath this tom. I first wondered what was going on when I saw him kicking up a little dirt. Hubby, who is quite a bit taller than I am, could see better and let me know that there was a little love making going on out there. Whoops! I didn’t mean to intrude! 

Photo source:  sgbrown aka Rockcreek Photography
+nature  +wildlife  +animals +birds  +turkey  +tom-turkey  +white-tail deer  +spring  +cardinal  +chickadee  +tufted titmouse  +owl  +house wren  

Here is a great gift for the man in your life! 

Country Livin' Coffee Mug