(This is the fourth and final part of my Saturday morning encounter with this beautiful coyote)
After unsuccessfully finding anything to eat in the area directly ahead of me, the coyote headed down a small slope and into a brush-area. I again got to watch the entertaining hunting behavior of pouncing and shoving your snout into a burrow, but he was unsuccessful in his multiple attempts.
At this point, he was following a trail that made a big arc around where I was sitting, and while occasionally giving me a glance, he came quite close (perhaps 10-15 yards) of me. For the first time, I started to feel just a little uneasy, and I started talking to him to get his attention, saying, “Hey, we’re cool right? No need to get too much closer.” He stared at me quizzically for a while, and then went back to sniffing the ground.
He found a good scent trail and make an arc in the other direction, but one that came even closer to my position.
I loved the opportunity to take some close shots, but I was constantly rotating the camera and trying to keep my tripod and lens between me and the coyote at all times. Unfortunately, I had rotated as far as possible without having to move my feet, and when I stepped into a new position I made a loud shuffling sound and startled him. He gave me a worried glance, tucked his tail under and sprinted to a further distance. He then gave me this final glance, which I read as a look of the broken trust that we had temporarily had between us, before sniffing the air and running away.
I hung around the area for another 20 minutes or so, but he never returned.
These are the kind of experiences that make it so worth getting up well before the crack of dawn on a Saturday in order to get to the trailhead at by sunrise. It never really crossed my mind that I’d ever have a chance to spend some time with a wild coyote. You just never know what to expect on a trip to Point Reyes – which always makes it enjoyable.