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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Sandstone Amphitheater

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.


Chas S. Clifton said...

The first picture should go into next year's camera trap calendar.

reverend dick said...

Yes. That is an amazing image.

Owlman said...

Beautiful Portrait of a very handsome Coyote.
Congratulations Codger.

randomtruth said...

More character coyotes from Chimineas. Now if we could just get him to roll around in the soft, cool sand like Fred did! :)

Sam Easterson said...

These are great. I like it when the subject is making eye contact with the camera.

- Clark said...

The first image is quite amazing. The coyote has a curious look in its face, and is just the right timing to look at the camera. Nice job as always.