Elk were conspicuously absent during our recent visit to the Elk-Bison Prairie at Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky, but soon after our return to Nebraska Jessa suggested we visit the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park near Ashland, and the elk there were more cooperative—lounging in the shade, mostly, but lounging where we could see them.
The Safari Park is affiliated with Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, and despite its proximity and reputation, I'd never been there. Like LBL, they have both elk and bison in a drive-through setting. When we were there, one cow—a traditionalist, evidently—was vigorously dustbathing, but most of the herd opted for the pond on this warm summer day.
There are a number of non-releasable rehabilitated birds on display as well. Jessa's sensitive eye ensured that even unflighted eagles, swans, and pelicans retained their dignity.
Also present are sandhill cranes. Accustomed as we are to seeing them in February and March, it struck us that the background colour in these photos was all wrong.
Speaking of greenery, several species of wildflowers were putting on a show.
I'll close with two shots I held back for this purpose, in violation of Jessa's "no derpy pictures" policy. She usually refuses to publish any photo that presents its subject in an unflattering light—I have been the grateful beneficiary of this policy myself. But she agreed to make a one-time exception, so enjoy these "not ready for the yearbook" portraits.