Snowy Valley and Pouncing Coyote (Jan 19-25, 2006)

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Chains required indeed! Snow everywhere and coyotes enjoying the sun and crust on the snow, allowing them to walk on top, listen to who's scurrying about below, and find a good lunch. Meanwhile, the cliffs of the Valley put on their finest winter clothes, draped in snow with some beautiful reflections on the rivers in the calm after the storm.

After a snowstorm the coyote tracks are everywhere and their brown fur makes them much easier to see against the white snow than against the grasses of summer.

Though not all that clear in this mediocre photo, this coyote is in mid-flight, pouncing on its prey. A few pounces later, it came up with lunch and was crunching away on the bones of some small critter and then moving on to stalk and pounce some more.

Coyotes often seem to be on a mission. The other day I followed some coyote tracks through the forest for almost a mile and they never seemed to veer more than ten degrees from the line of march. I never figured out where it was headed, but a friend, driving up the Badger Pass road that morning on the fresh snow, picked up coyote tracks in the fresh snow at Chinquapin and followed them all the way up to the ski area (five miles) before the coyote left the road and headed out across the ski trail. Since I picked up the tracks I was following on the backside of the ski area, it could have been the same one. There have been times where I've followed coyote tracks for miles on the road to lose them in the ski are but then pick up tracks on a straight line from the other ones. These guys cover a lot of miles in a day.

I have a bit more information on the Coyote page

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