... and more. Helen and I were walking two dogs CCW around Sweet Springs Trail, approaching the Hawthorns Property to the northeast. The dogs became excited -- especially the smaller one. We heard a loud barking and howling, a coyote. There was a man standing on the trail with two dogs, pinned in place. A coyote was just above, making a racket. We stopped, and the coyote transferred its attention to us. It was a young coyote, perhaps 15-20 feet above the trail.
I think this was a territorial display. (If you know, please leave a comment on a photo.) Not hunting -- why try to drive away your prey? It felt aggressive. Perhaps the youngster was seeing how this all worked, and when we paused on the trail, he kept it up. Then Helen went on with the dogs, and I followed with the camera. The coyote looked healthy and alive; I can see why humans domesticated wolves, long ago.
[Marilyn Walter: "The coyote was probably protecting a den of young nearby; that's the only time they seem so aggressive."]
I hesitate a bit to put this on the web. There may be people who want more safety, who would call for the removal of coyotes because they can imagine a scenario leading to danger. But I am happy to share this space with coyotes, and to bear with the young as they learn the ways of this not-quite-wild. I moved to Portola Valley to be able to experience the tamer parts of the wilderness on my morning walks. It is great to see this, so close to home (but no closer, please…)
But take care as you walk Sweet Springs Trail for the next while. As the sign says, Be careful, walking dogs.
I include a few other recent images from morning walks. A sentinel quail, a hidden hare, and bucks in velvet. A bluebird with an insect. A singing bird -- please leave a comment if you know the ID.
© Photography by Dan Quinn