Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two Coyotes

One day last week, as every week, just about, I was headed down to Prince Edward County for the day to work. On the side of the highway just south of the hamlet I saw a road-killed coyote. I didn't stop, but even a passing glance was enough to see that this had been a good looking animal in good condition. Sad, but interesting too, because although I've only seen a handful of road-killed coyotes in my life, this is the second one I've seen in this spot. And I've heard tell of sightings of successful road crossings by coyotes there too.

The spot is adjacent to the edge between a farmer's fields and a bit of woods on both sides of the highway. A good kind of territory for a coyote run. This, i..e., the southeast corner of my hearing range from the front porch, is also the place from which I most often hear the coyotes singing. After a quiet period, I've been hearing them again, almost every night, sometimes one calling, sometimes a whole gang singing. A whole gang? I'd really like to actually see this sometime, to get some idea of how to determine the number of singers from the song.

I carried on down the road thinking that it's been a while since I last saw a coyote, and a traffic victim was no substitute for a real sighting. Got to The County, got to work.

I work in the same place where I often house sit, a place I've written about here many times, where warblers fallout, where deer give birth, where the raccoons will run right over you if you let them. One of the great features of the property is that the land drops sharply away just behind the house, giving an excellent view, getting better as the trees lose their leaves, of a laneway down to the lake, a bit of hardwood forest, and some fields and woods.

I can't believe I don't have a photo of the lane--but this picture of a pileated at work from last winter, taken from the yard above the woods, gives some sense of the way the land drops

In the middle of the afternoon I was out in the yard, taking a (smoke) break, and looking down the lane. There was a brownish lump too far down to make out. Luckily I had my pocket binoculars. (One of the best things about cooler weather is the extra pockets!) A coyote--alive, and mosying about looking through the grass for a snack--just when I had been wanting to see one, and almost exactly in a spot where I'd seen a coyote twice before. (See, for example, Another County Encounter ) I watched for several minutes as it came up the lane slowly, until it seemed to look in my direction; it may have spotted me, or may have caught my scent, causing it to look. In any case, it quite calmly headed off the lane into the brush and out of sight.


bev said...

Although we've heard and seen coyote here at the farm many times over the years, I've only ever seen 2 DORs in this general area in almost 30 years. I think coyote may be a little more road savvy than most other wildlife.
Speaking of coyote, when I was out at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in late September, my friend and I stopped on the roadway to take a few photos of the landscape. I happened to be looking down the road behind our car and caught sight of a coyote that had just emerged from the prairie grass. It stood on the road watching us for a few moments before loping into the tall grass on the other side of the road. A few seconds later, a buck Mule Deer raced along just ahead of where the coyote had disappeared -- probably thinking it was being pursued. It was a pretty neat series of events.
And another btw -- I just noticed that CRN is back online.

pablo said...

I hardly ever see coyotes, but I like the idea that they're out there.

Pamela Martin said...

Bev, I think you're right that the coyote is road savvy. Nice to see one and then a mule deer! And thanks for the heads up about Creek Running North.

Pablo: yes, it's great to have them around--a bit of wild, and a good all-purpose predator: mice and deer too!