Saturday, February 3, 2007

Last night was a night for reruns - and I don't mean on TV. The coyotes, both of them, signaled their return with a dramatic performance. I noticed the llamas all standing at full attention and looking up the hill to the west. There on the ridge were two perfect silhouettes in front of the setting sun. I think the coyotes knew they were being watched as they spent a few minutes pacing back and forth and then sat down facing each other and raised their muzzles to the sky. Their howling could not have been better staged in Hollywood. After a few minutes they stood up and went over the hill and out of sight. I would not have been surprised if they had taken a bow first.

This morning when I went for my run I found their fresh tracks almost immediately. They had obviously been back early this morning and had covered quite a bit of ground around the house. I was lost in my usual daydreaming as I followed their tracks out the drive when, about a 1/4 mile from the house, I suddenly realized something had changed. In my befuddled state it took me a minute to recognize that the tracks I was now seeing were much bigger than those of the coyotes. It seems the wolf was back for a visit last night as well. For the next half mile or so I followed both sets of tracks down the lane, the coyotes sometimes walking right on top of the wolf tracks allowing for a perfect comparison. I run on the road because it is easier traveling. It only makes sense the animals use it for the same reason. I don't usually carry my camera when I run so the photos on the side are from a couple weeks ago after a few inches of new snow. The one on the top is a typical coyote track measuring about 2 1/2" in length. The photo on the bottom is the wolf track. It is about 6" long; the same size as my hand. That is one big dog.
I am so glad the coyotes are still around. By all rights the female should be pregnant right now and we may be seeing pups in another month or so.

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