Showing posts with label Canis latrans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canis latrans. Show all posts

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Broken trust and a final glance (Part 4)

(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.

Ready to pounce

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.

We're cool, right?

He found a good scent trail and make an arc in the other direction, but one that came even closer to my position.

Something's in those bushes


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.

Broken trust

I hung around the area for another 20 minutes or so, but he never returned.

Leaving the scene

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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nose to the Ground (Part 3)

(This is Part 3 of my Saturday morning encounter at Point Reyes -- quick links to Part 1 and Part 2)

I enjoyed the company of the deer for a while longer, before they left for the field on the other side of the road. At this point, I considered packing up and heading to a different trailhead (and perhaps one with a bit less fog), but instead I became interested in the sparrows bouncing about and the beautiful backlit morning dew drops on the grass (subjects of a future post). After being lost in the small-scale pleasure of the dew for maybe 10-15 minutes, I looked up to find that the coyote had returned to the area, and was following the scent trail of the rodents that had pock-marked the ground with their burrows.

Nose to the ground

He was in serious tracking mode, as he rarely lifted his snout from the ground.

What lies in the sparkles?

He gave me a few uneasy glances, but at this time, I was crouching low with my tripod working on some ground-level psuedo-macros and apparently I seemed unthreatening enough that he continued about his business of sniffing for rodents.

An useasy glance

All the while, the fog was in constant flux going between pea-soup and just a light mist, and these shots gave me some of the best light of the morning as the sun almost made it through. As an aside, you can see in this series that it was a wet morning, as his fur looked like he had just been through a shower -- perhaps just some tall grass on the hillside. I was thankful to have a pair of gloves in my pocket, which I've come to realize is a must for morning photography in the Bay Area, almost year-round.

On the scent trail

It was early even for the coyote, who engaged in a big yawn.

Morning yawn

More of my encounter coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Uneasy (Part 2)

(Part two of my Saturday morning wildlife encouter -- part one can be found here.)


As I was following the mother and youngster through my lens, their ears went up and they went onto high alert.

On the alert

It was cute how the youngster acted just like the mother -- probably a good sign for its long-term outlook. (As a side note, when they are being very attentive like this, its quite easy to see why they are called mule deer. The ears look almost too big for this little one!)

Ears up

The little one was maybe 10 yards away from Mom, and made a hasty retreat to her side.

Trotting to mom

With their fur puffed out, they made some aggressive stances while staring off into the distance (not at me).

Strength together

I was enjoying their look, and it took a few minutes to dawn on me that I should probably turn around to see what was causing their concern. To my surprise the coyote I spied earlier was cruising through the parking lot area. He hung out between myself and my car while trying to decide what to do, which made the decision easier for me to just stay put and see what was going to unfold.

Uneasy coyote

It seemed like the coyote wanted to get to the field on the other side of the road (perhaps where he just came from), but the mother deer had moved into the way. So instead, the coyote crossed the parking lot a few times while trying to decide what to do. Eventually, the mother gave a short charge and the coyote took off and hid behind the fence before wandering off up the hillside.

Safely behind the fence

The story continues tomorrow with Part 3...