Another Visit to Antelope Island

October 29, 2015  •  1 Comment

Heading south from Yellowstone and the Tetons in early October, I had a chance to make a second visit to Antelope Island, an island and Utah state park located in the Great Salt Lake. I got a late start to my visit because of bad weather.  But, as I drove north on I-15 through a heavy downpour, I could see clearing skies to the west. By the time I crossed the causeway to the island the rain and clouds had given way to mostly blue skies.

Fremont Island, Great Salt Lake, UtahFremont Island, Great Salt Lake, UtahView of Fremont Island from the Antelope Island Causeway As one might guess from the name, “brine shrimp” (or Artemia, a genus of aquatic crustaceans) can live in water of high salinity.  So it’s no surprise that they are present in large numbers in the Great Salt Lake and serve as a food source for large flocks of migrating shorebirds.

Shorebird flock, Great Salt LakeShorebird flock, Great Salt Lake Antelope Island is home to a herd of American bison. On an easy hike along the lakeshore, I encountered several of them and -- rather unexpectedly they were right in front of me on the trail. I yielded to them and made a wide detour to get around them. Antelope Island bisonAntelope Island bisonMember of the Antelope Island Bison herd browzing among sage and colorful rabbitbrush. I also encountered a group of Chukars and large numbers of small lizards.  The Chukars proved to be too elusive for photographs, so I turned instead to the lizards, which have their own photographic challenges. Though numerous, they are quite quick to take cover under rocks and it is very difficult to get a catchlight in their deeply hooded eyes.

Antelope Island lizardAntelope Island lizard Not being by any means an expert on lizard identification, my best guess is that mostly what I saw were Western Fence Lizards (though I didn’t turn them over to see if they had blue on the underside). One of the lizards I photographed was in the process of regrowing its tail -- a condition which, so I've read, puts males at a significant disadvantage in the mating game. 

Lizard (Western Fence lizard?) Antelope Island, UtahLizard (Western Fence lizard?) Antelope Island, UtahLizard regrowing its tail


Comments

Meggi Raeder, M.Raeder-Photography(non-registered)
Justine,
beautiful blog. I remember being on Antilope Island during a horrendous rain storm, camping in my car. All the other campers in tents fled into their cars. Never had a chance to search for the bisons.
Thanks for sharing!
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