Sunday, February 3, 2008

You had to be there

Today was definitely not a day of rest in the woods. The warm weather is hanging on, and all the birds and furry things were busy enjoying it. Lots of singing, chattering, bark nibbling, etc. I was enjoying it, too, trudging along the top of a ridge, when I heard a loud rustle of leaves below me. I looked down to see a group of ten deer charging through the trees--odd behavior for the early morning, when they're usually busy feeding. They saw me and came to a stop, looking sort of flummoxed. I wondered if somebody's dog was loose down there, giving them a hard time.

I walked another 20 yards or so and saw saw something with a canine gait moving up the hill, coming from the same direction as the spooked deer. I indulged in some unkind thoughts about negligent dog owners. Then I realized that the dog was actually a coyote--a big one, pretty in his heavy winter coat. He had something in his mouth, and he seemed very pleased with himself, carrying his goody back to the den. He crossed the trail about twenty feet in front of me and never so much as looked my way. The deer were still locked in place behind us. I can't imagine they had much to fear from a lone coyote, but they clearly did not approve of him.

Coyotes are pretty common here--not as much of a nuisance as they are out West, but they do cause problems with livestock and chow down on the odd pet cat. We hear them near our house all the time, but it's rare to see one casually going about his business the way this guy was. He wasn't doing the usual coyote slink. He was trotting along, head up, with his russet-tipped fur being ruffled by the wind.

He was gorgeous, and I was sorry for a moment that I didn't have a camera with me so I could share him with you. I almost never carry one into the woods. I find they suck all my attention toward looking for good things to photograph, and away from the experience of being where I am. The camera turns me into a tourist, which defeats the whole purpose of being out there. So, the Canis latrans above, courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, will have to stand in for him--but trust me, my coyote was prettier.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


Perfumeshrine said...

I've said it again: you see things all of us miss...thanks for bringing your experiences here. I enjoy reading about your outdoor activities and your furry little friends.

Good point about cameras making you a tourist. They often do. However, one point to consider: perhaps in hindsight it also makes you see a subject in a different way; through the lens it gets a new perspective which you might not have "noticed" if not shooting and clicking.

mrb said...

I saw one walking down the cemented creek in the Sugar Tree Compound on Woodmont and it looked just like the one in the picture you chose. I did the same thing thinking it was a dog but realized its gait and the slope of its back was different. They better keep their little phoo-phoo(sp?) dogs in the house over there.

BitterGrace said...

That's true, E, photos can be very revealing in that way--which is why I make Dave carry a camera whenever we travel together ;-)

Coyotes in Green Hills, mrb? That's a little surprising, but I guess that's the way of coyotes. They're like the pigeons of the canine world, they adapt to anything.

chayaruchama said...

I love coyotes.
I love all the foxy, wolfy, caniney critters that stinks in the wild.
I am one with them...