The Challenge

On a sunny day in late October, the young elk decided it was warm enough to wade into the pond to drink and splash about. After stopping by the observation deck to say “Hello! Who are you?,” he practiced using his antlers on a branch in the shade.

The next morning, he found a more exciting way to experiment with his antlers. The elder elk was resting and chewing his cud when the young elk approached. The youngster tried to move the elder elk’s head and antlers this way and that. After a while, the elder elk rose and the young elk found himself outmatched in antler size and body strength.

October 25, 2017

The young elk in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk drinking and splashing in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The elder elk in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The elder elk in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The elder elk in a pond in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk playing with a branch in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk playing with a branch in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk playing with a branch in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

The young elk playing with a branch in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

October 26, 2017

The young elk challenging the elder elk in Jester Park, Iowa, October 26, 2017. The elder elk was resting and chewing his cud when the young elk arrived wanting attention.

The young elk challenging the elder elk in Jester Park, Iowa, October 26, 2017. The elder elk was resting and chewing his cud when the young elk arrived wanting attention.

The young elk challenging the elder elk in Jester Park, Iowa, October 26, 2017. The elder elk was resting and chewing his cud when the young elk arrived wanting attention.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The Challenge

  1. zirah1 says:

    Oh, what fun to watch the youngster splashing about and then brashly challenging the adult. Glad the senior elk seemed to be rather gentle with him. Amazing to see the difference in the size of their antlers. How exciting for you to be able to catch all the action. And that picture at the beginning of the post is priceless. The youngster definitely doesn’t seem to be camera shy. πŸ™‚

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the photos and the videos of the elk. πŸ™‚ The youngster was a lot of fun to watch! And so cute. πŸ™‚ I was happy the videos turned out. I was laughing (silently) when the young elk started splashing in the pond. πŸ™‚ He was fearless in his approach to the elder elk. I saw them sparring with their antlers a couple of times in the early mornings and was lucky on that day to see them well enough for a video. The young one tried. πŸ™‚ Most of the summer and fall, the elk were in the fields where I couldn’t see them very well. In October, they were in the one with the observation deck so I could watch them without the fence getting in the way. The young one came over to say hello. πŸ™‚

      • zirah1 says:

        Yes, that “hello” shot is great. Reminds me of a young kid that is curious about everything and doesn’t have any inhibitions drummed into them yet. He also seemed to be way over-estimating himself (sort of like some teenage boys I’ve known :-)) later w/ that adult. Instead of him being fearless, it seems it was more just stupidity. HA! And how nice that there is an observation deck and that things worked out for you to get such a good view.

        • Sarah says:

          The elder elk was resting and digesting his food when the young elk came by to wrestle with his antlers and chew on them. “Hey! This is fun!” until the elder elk stood up and started moving him around the field with no trouble at all. πŸ™‚ Wisely, the youngster retreated. If you look closely, you see that the antlers have sharp tips on them. The elder elk looked like he was training the young one until he had enough. After all, his morning nap was disturbed. πŸ™‚ It is nice that there is an observation deck in one of the fields. The elk and the bison eat the grass pretty quickly so they rotate them between the fields. In the winter, they also put out hay and maybe some other feed over by the barn which I can’t see. I went out on Christmas morning to see how they were doing, but I wasn’t dressed warmly enough and didn’t stay long.

          • zirah1 says:

            Yes, I was very aware of how the adult could have done some serious damage, had me had the mind to, but it seemed like he was consciously being pretty restrained…..Maybe good he was only mildly annoyed and it wasn’t mating season. πŸ™‚

            • Sarah says:

              Mildly annoyed sounds about right. πŸ™‚ Mating season is in the fall so it was mating season. I don’t know if there will be any baby elk in the spring. There are three females along with the two males at the park. I don’t know if they are all part of the same family. Two of the females look older than the third one. From what I read, the males lose their antlers in the spring and then grow new ones throughout the summer. I didn’t get a good look at the elk during the spring and the summer last year since they were tucked away in the first field which has hills along with a different pond and places to be out of sight. I am hoping to go back to check on them in the next couple of weeks if there are any warm days. There have been a few warm spells this winter, but not at times when I could go visit. I was seriously shivering when I went out on Christmas morning and it dampened my enthusiasm for going out in the cold with the camera. πŸ™‚ The spring excitement has started now, though, so I might venture out soon to see the elk, the bison, and whatever birds I can find.

              • zirah1 says:

                I hear ya about spring excitement. I was out for a walk today and even though we’ve still got probably a month and a half of cold weather ahead of us, I feel like once we get thru Jan. I’ll feel like spring is just around the corner, which is enough to keep me from getting overly depressed by the upcoming cold. πŸ™‚ Plus, hopefully we’ll have days at a time interspersed where it’s not so winter-like outside.

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    Great pics as always, Sarah.
    How far away were you from those elk?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked the pictures. πŸ™‚ It was a new favorite experience. I was watching them all summer and fall hoping they would be where I could see them well enough for photos. Thankfully, it happened before the cold and the snow settled in. I didn’t think it was warm enough to be splashing about in the water, but the young elk looked like he was having a lot of fun. πŸ™‚ The distance varied with the photos. The young elk was right near the observation deck where I was standing for the first photo. In the other photos, the elk were probably probably 50 to 100 feet away or more. On the second day, I was standing on the side of the road looking through the fence and the elk were in a slight dip at the top of a hill on the far side of the pond from the observation deck. I often wish that I had a handy ladder that I could pull out of a bag like Mary Poppins pulled all those things out of her bag so I could be higher up for a better vantage point. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh wow! We do not have elk here so to watch the videos was so exciting! Thank you, Sarah! Excellent photographs of such majestic creatures. How incredible you were in the right place at the right time. And to watch the youngster splashing in the water was just so cute. LOVED this!! ☺️

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Amy πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the elk. πŸ™‚ They don’t live in the wild here either so it has been a treat to watch the ones at the park. The young one is really cute. πŸ™‚ I laugh every time I see the video of him splashing in the water and remember standing there watching it. So funny! I am sure we have all wanted to do that at one time or the other. Stomp around and create a big splash and then look about like…. “Who me?” πŸ™‚

  4. stbarbebaker says:

    What a place, to be safe from an observation deck, and be able to experience nature like this!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked seeing the elk. πŸ™‚ It is a very nice park. I first visited in the fall of 2015. I had seen the signs for the park driving on the nearby main road. When my Mom visited that fall, we were exploring nature places and followed the signs. I have been a frequent visitor ever since. πŸ™‚ The park land was bought by the county in 1958 and The Bison and Elk enclosure started in 1960. It wasn’t until 2012 that the outdoor education plaza with the observation deck was constructed. There is a nature playscape next to it. There are plantings of wildflowers in the nature playscape and in the education plaza. I love flowers as much as I love the birds. πŸ™‚ And there are woods and the lake. The park extends only a short distance along the lake. It is a large lake created by a dam on the Des Moines River. When the water in the lake is low, there are islands of grass in the middle. It is in the flood plane of the river and sometimes the water is high enough that the low areas of the park flood. There are many birds that call the park home in the summer and the winter and others that fly through during migration. This is the first time I have been able to spend time in a place near water. They have gradually developed campgrounds, trails, picnic areas, a restored prairie and a golf course which is on the south side of the park. Right now, they are building a nature center on the west side. I usually visit at sunrise when the light is good for photos and the birds are the most active.

      • stbarbebaker says:

        That sounds absolutely perfect, and the golden hour and sunset is divine for photographs, indeed. With the Bison, and Elk, it sounds like the park near Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. Thank you so much for sharing, these natural spaces are so very important, and your images are priceless

        • Sarah says:

          Thank you for bringing your kindness and knowledge into my little corner of space. πŸ™‚ I hope to visit Yellowstone National Park where I have read their are many elk and bison. This will take some planning and I don’t know when it will happen. I am delighted that there is a place I can visit which is only a 30 minute drive away. I very much appreciate the people who make parks happen and take care of them. πŸ™‚

  5. What an amazing thing to see! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diane πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the elk. πŸ™‚ One of the things I’ve learned in my nature watching is that opportunities rarely repeat themselves. It is practice in paying attention! I am happy I was able to see the goings-on in October. Watching the elk is a new experience for me since they can’t be found in the wild here anymore.

  6. Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing these stunning photos of the elks in their natural surrounds… absolutely wonderful to see, and a great read too! πŸ˜ƒ How are you keeping? Fine I hope… I always appreciate your visits and glad to hear from you. ⚘⚘ Have a lovely week ahead with much love. ❀

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Iris πŸ™‚

      Thank you for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked seeing the elk. πŸ™‚ The young one made me laugh each time I watched him. He was always running around playing with sticks or eating or pestering his fellow elk. πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your happy wishes and for bringing your sweetness into my little corner of space. πŸ™‚ I hope you have a wonderful week as well! I loved your last poem like the ones before it. ❀ You create a gentle and peaceful place which is a pleasure to visit.

      I am keeping busy while I wait for it to be warm enough to go out with the camera again. There is a small park on the other side of a tree line from these apartment buildings. I can see the trees from my living room and kitchen windows. Each morning this last week, I've walked up the little hill and through the tree line to leave bird seed for the birds and carrots for the rabbits. It fills my heart with happy to see the birds busily eating the seed and chirping. πŸ™‚ I haven't seen the rabbits eating the carrots, but each morning the carrots left the previous day are gone so I think they must be. I have seen a few rabbits hurriedly running across the snow to hide as I walk by. It is cold with snow on the ground. The sky is bright blue this afternoon and I am working on a new post for sometime this week. πŸ™‚

      • Lovely to read your news, Sarah. ❀ Thanks so much for your kind words and it’s always a pleasure to see you here! πŸ™‚ Enjoy the warmer days of Spring… and colours… the wonders of Creation. Have a great week and shall look forward to your next post. πŸ¦† πŸ‡ πŸ¦‹ 🌾 ⚘

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s