It was late in the day, almost 7 PM when I took this photograph in Custer State Park in South Dakota earlier this month. The Bison is backlit but I really like the effect of the rim lighting from the setting sun on the Bison’s fur as well as the fact that she is looking into my lens. I always love that direct connection when the critter looks straight into the camera.
This is a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. Wait! Is it? It’s a ground squirrel all right but maybe it is a Mexican Ground Squirrel. When I took this photograph near the Rio Grande in South Texas in May, I thought it was a Thirteen-lined Squirrel, a type of ground squirrel I recognized from seeing it elsewhere, including in South Dakota. A couple of days later, someone pointed out that the area also has Mexican Ground Squirrels and they look almost identical to the Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. I suppose there is a way to tell the difference but a quick look into their ranges shows that they overlap in Texas so short of an expert’s opinion, I’ll probably never know. I’m actually leaning toward Mexican Ground Squirrel because we were so close to Mexico and the location I shot this image was in the middle of that squirrel’s range. So, what’s in a name? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what is the name, let alone why the name.