This post is about one of those magic moments where you get to witness and capture something completely unexpected but amazing. We were making an early morning drive through Lamar Valley in the Northern end of the park when we spotted a lone wolf a good distance away down in the valley. We pulled over just as he was making his way toward a herd of Bison. He made a few tentative attempts to separate a “red dog” bison calf away from its mother but the mom kept itself between the wolf and calf and the predator kinda lost interest. Shortly after that, a group of 5 or 6 bison chased the wolf away from the main herd. Somewhere during all this action, a coyote joined the party and began nipping at the wolf’s heels. We were still a long ways away but we could hear the coyote’s barking clearly. The wolf slowly turned toward us and started walking quickly towards where we were parked. The Coyote kept pace and never left his trail position behind the wolf – yelling the entire time. Eventually we got a better view of the whole proceeding and were able to get a photo of the encounter. I managed to get this shot of the Wolf coming at us, the coyote with mouth open as it chased the wolf, and the buffalo behind with their young. Sort of a perfect description of what Yellowstone is all about.
We continued to watch as that coyote chased the wolf for about 2 miles!! Even when the wolf turned and showed the size of his teeth the coyote kept coming…
We were riding down one of the roads in North Yellowstone when we saw this coyote walking down the center of the street in front of us. As we pulled closer, he (or she) moved closer to the side of the road but he wasn’t yielding the whole road to us. As we pulled ahead, and moved onto one of the turnouts, he seemed perfectly content to follow us into the field and continue to get his picture taken. Several other cars/photographers had joined in the fun by this time. Here’s a photo I took as he was passing by….
As he kept going past us, I was also able to take this photo to give a better view of the entire animal and its surroundings with the beautiful snow capped mountains in the distance.
Some of the other photographers were also able to capture the scene. Dan Munson was nice enough to send us this photograph of the coyote passing by me. I tried not to move as he approached me head on and then just gave me a glance as he passed by….nice. Thanks for sending the photo Dan!
I’ll stay in the Bosque for this week’s challenge. When I first got to the refuge, it was in the afternoon and I wasn’t surprised to find the first pond I came across covered by thousands of snow geese. What I was surprised at was to look across the pond and see a coyote patrolling the edge of the pond. It turns out that there were actually a pair of them scoping out the feast in front of them. What I was even more surprised at was that neither of the coyotes ever made a move toward the geese who were less than 10 yards away (in very shallow water). They sort of walked around the pond for a while and then just wandered off. I would guess that the geese were surprised also…..
Many people visit Yellowstone with the expectation (or at least desire) to see Wolves. Many also think they have seen wolves, when in reality, they have caught a glimpse of a Coyote running through the brush. Coyotes are far more numerous in Yellowstone (and just about everywhere else) and are a frequent sight for visitors. This Coyote was just walking along the edge of some bushes by the side of the road and caused a major traffic jam. He didn’t seem to mind the attention as he just kept on his way and didn’t bother to run into the deeper bushes for cover. Within about ten minutes, everyone had seen him and he had the area back to himself. It may not be a wolf but it is a handsome creature in its own right.
Living in San Diego, we’re a little “challenged” for winter photos so I had to dig into the archives to find some from last year’s ski trips. This first one was taken near Lake Tahoe. We were driving to a ski area when I noticed a coyote in a field. With my current fixation on wildlife photos, this one says winter to me….
But then again, as a skier, I had to include one other photo taken at the Solitude Ski area in Utah. It tries to capture the skier’s dream of being able to cut that first set of tracks in the deep powder on a crystal clear winter morning run.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s Roadrunner, I knew everyone would be waiting for the second half of the duo – and here he is! This fella was wandering the golf course yesterday along with all the roadrunners. While we didn’t see him catch his breakfast, we did see the some evidence of a rabbit’s demise on an earlier hole. In this picture he just looks like he is remembering and savoring whatever it was that he had…..
Since the Weekly Photo Challenge was “hot: , I figured I’d better cool it back down – I looked back to some images from this winter. These were taken around South Lake Tahoe in March. The first one is of 1 of 3 coyotes we saw walking behind a storage shed just off a main road. They were’nt particularly riled by our presence and this one just sat down for a little rest.
We saw these other two while on our way ski one morning. They were just hanging out in a field right off the main road that circles the lake. These two were much larger than the other ones we saw – must be a better food source near the casinos….