Currently in our corner of Northeasten California it is deer and waterfowl hunting season – a lot of people walking around with guns. Thus Leonard and I were surprised to see this coyote (Canis latrans) standing in an open field in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny fall day. Usually at this time of the year the coyotes seem to sense the danger and are much more cautious.
This coyote was probably concentrating on a vole or mouse in the grass and strangely did not notice my approach. Eventually I got close enough to disturb him sufficiently that he reluctantly wandered off. This fellow needs to be much more alert.
It is fun to watch coyotes hunt voles on the surface of the ground. They will stand quietly watching their prey then suddenly pounce, often jumping high in the air as they do so. If the first strike is not successful, the coyote will often chase the small mammal with a series of high jumps. Fascinating!
The picture, taken along County Road 91 in Modoc County CA is not a particularly good one of a coyote. (Better coyote pictures are here.) But I liked how intent the coyote was and the beautiful color of the mowed pasture. (The color is not edited – I do not even own Photoshop.)