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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This morning I went over to Sweetwater Wetlands to photograph. I had a productive morning, got some good pictures, and I’ll be posting a few of them soon. But, the real fun occurred on the drive home.
Our neighborhood in suburban Tucson is relatively densely settled but there are large patches of desert in between the homes and there are also several large washes that run downhill from the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains, cutting through many of the subdivisions. These washes are dry 99 percent of the time and they serve as highways for wildlife. Consequently, there’s always a fair amount of activity in our community at certain times of day.
One species that shows up with regularity is Coyotes. Coyotes, close relatives of wolves and dogs, are among those species that have learned to live easily with humans. They were formerly a western species but they’ve expanded their range all over the continental United States. They live in suburban neighborhoods quite comfortably. There are many of them in our community.
I hear them calling often when I go for my early morning walks but I seldom see them. Coyotes have an almost uncanny ability to make themselves invisible. They can forage, even raise their pups, within yards of human habitation and yet, somehow, never be seen.
This morning I was returning home on a suburban street less than a mile from our house when two Coyotes suddenly crossed the road in front of me. Traffic was very light and Coyotes were in no hurry. I watched them amble across the street and begin to head slowly down a side street. I glanced down at my camera on the seat next to me and thought: “why not?” I turned down the side street and followed them. After a few yards one of the pair disappeared into the brush. I assumed the other would do likewise, but to my surprise, it stood by the side of the road and calmly watched me. I stopped the car, only about 25 feet away, and photographed it.
It was a magnificent animal. Coyotes can range in size from as light as about 15 pounds to as much as 40. This one was a big one and in superb condition. We continued to stare at each other for about 15 seconds and, with the Coyote unmoving, I leaned out the car window and made a portrait.
Then, slowly, it faded into the brush. As it did, it glanced back, not at me, but in the direction of its companion.
And, then, it was gone.
Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 640, aperture preferred setting, f6.3 @ 1/1250 (first two photos), 1/1000 (third photo).