Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Russian Ridge Coyote Encounter

Went for a nice hike up in the Russian Ridge Open Space yesterday. It's a lovely 2,000 acre preserve that sits on the 2,000+ foot high ridge of the coastal mountain range, above Skyline Boulevard, and way above Palo Alto. The Bay Area Ridge Trail runs through it, and on clear days, it gives stellar views of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Coast.

I went there for the views, an 8 mile hike, and the wildflowers. The fog foiled the far-gazing, but the Spring flora was in fine form. And, I got an extra-special treat - I wandered across a lovely little coyote that let me watch her (him?) hunt volephers in the flower-flecked fields. Little did she know that I was packing a super-zoom... :)

Fog and flowers started the day:

bit foggy...silverleaf lupine

popping pink paintbrushesbounty of buttercups

gnarly oaksted's rocktree-lined trail

Then I came across the Lady Canis latrans on a volepher hunt. She didn't seem to mind me watching for a while...

are you following me?
Cutie Coyote out on a volepher hunt

ready... pounce!
Listen, listen, listen... pounce!

success! (unless you're a volepher)
Success! (unless you're a volepher)

tip-toe through the popcornflower
Done showing off, she tip-toed through the popcornflowers and around the hill

Or so I thought. As I lay in the grass on the next hillside over, taking macros of color-crazed wildflowers, a familiar face popped over the hill. Seeing it was me, she decided to show off some more of her clever crafts...

my coyote friend again
Back to show off more techniques

she hears a rustle...
How to listen for rustles...

could you keep that camera quiet?
My shutter was a bit too loud! This is totally a "Hello - I'm working here!" look!

triangulating the sound...
Showing me how to triangulate...

Another perfect pounce (but no reward for this one)

off to the next adventure
And finally, unfortunately, she left me for the next episode...

But I enjoyed some more flora and fauna to end my walk.

lupine view

always curioussmartass stare

violetspaintbrushes galore

neon red paintbrushchecker mallow chains




  1. What a wonderful capture of the nature around you.

    Enjoy the coyote hunting series very much. I saw something similar last month too - it was exhilarating watching an actual hunt taking place right in front of you.

  2. Killer series. I long to find shots like this.

  3. Wow, that was a great outing, I would say. Coyote was kind to you, must have recognized a friend. Hey mann, you are in my old stomping grounds. Love that part of the coast range. Keep skipping out on work and post about your hikes.

  4. Thanks all. I definitely got lucky (or as I like to say - "the right place with the right camera").

    PSYL - great photo series back at ya! Gotta love it when nature lets you in on its little secrets. :)

    Codger - Thanks much. I live in San Mateo County and haunt all the local parks. Here's albums for Edgewood, Windy Hill and even the Palo Alto Baylands if you're interested. I'll start writing about those walks too (woohoo! - more material!). Any requests? :)

  5. Those are great coyote on the hunt images. That grassy hill must have been home to dozens of edibles for that coyote. Spring looks like it is quite colorful in that area this year.

  6. AnonymousMay 14, 2009

    Some seriously cool coyote shots! The looks on her face are too much. Pretty sweet of her to model for you like that!


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