Coyote On the Hunt, San Joaquin Valley
Posted on 16 March 2013
Coyote On the Hunt, San Joaquin Valley. San Joaquin Valley, California. January 1, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A lone coyote in sunset light hunts in a winter field, San Joaquin Valley, California
If you are out and about much in my part of California, especially near the edges of the day, occasional encounters with coyotes are to be expected. I’ve had my share over the years. One of the most memorable, perhaps 15 or 20 years ago was when I was a very serious cyclist and out for a morning 50-miler south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Is I rode down a country road next to a steep hill, a coyote suddenly flew (almost literally!) down the slope and landed on the road just feet in front of me. I’m not sure who was the most surprised or panicked at this development, but my memory of the event has the coyote doing an immediate 180 degree turn and racing back up against the hill just before we collided. On other occasions I’ve seen them at a distance or I’ve been hiking along only to look up and see one very close by.
Even though I knew that they inhabit this place, where we were photographing migratory birds in the San Joaquin Valley, coyotes were pretty much the last thing on my mind when another member of my group said, more or less, “look behind you!”. I shooting over the top of my car and photographing geese in developing golden hour light, so I turned around – now using the car as a back-rest rather than as a blind! – and simply tracked the animal as it made its lazy way along the field on the other side of a drainage ditch. I made no attempt to conceal myself – it would have been pointless – and the coyote barely seemed to care as it went about its evening hunt, crossing slowly in front of me and eventually disappearing into tall brush to my right.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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