Unusual or uncommon landscape features attract predators and curious naturalists.
A cut bank on an otherwise uniform prairie, a pile of flotsam on a river floodplain, a bluff feeding boulders, scree, and sand to an alluvial plain -- they all speak to the forces of nature and allure the likes of us.
Here was a sandstone amphitheater in a bend of a dry wash.
When we saw it we knew it was the place for a camera trap.
Bats had been using the overhang as a night roost, owls had paused there long enough to litter the sand with fur-packed pellets, and a cougar had left a few tracks in the sand.
Since the rainy season was upon us, we found the high water mark and set the camera trap above it.
The only visitor, a coyote came 11 days later at 8:48AM.
After the picture above was taken, the animal approached the camera to check it out.
The smell of people didn't alarm it -- it was probably a transient.
No resident territory holder would be so bold or foolhardy.
It returned to investigate the rock that covered the can of rotten mackerel.
Then it scented the air and was gone.