Saturday, October 22, 2011

Critters

Deer scat, I think
This evening when I took Jack for a walk, we were heading back to the house when I saw one of my neighbor's SUV stop on the road. We came up upon him, and he leaned out the window. "There's a coyote down there," he said, gesturing to the ravine. "Be careful."

As I looked past the rear of his car, I saw the coyote come up onto the road, and trot in the other direction, then turn and slink down a driveway.
Dog track or coyote track?
My driveway. We walked past and down the block away before circling back and checking that he'd continued in his downhill migration through our property.

Another morning we walked up the bend past our new neighbor's brand new gate and fence. There's been  some discussion about this fence - nothing says Happy Halloween better than a locked-down automatic gate.


But though some neighbors are concerned that fences block wildlife pathways through our mountains, that clearly wasn't the case with a coyote that ran just 20 or so feet in front of me and Jack. He paused, looked over his shoulder at us, and slithered under the fence in the gap right next to the smiling jack-o-lantern.

I wasn't quick enough to catch him with my camera, but he was close enough to see the glitter of his eyes.
More scat
[The Man I Love] tends to encounter animals while in the car. Last month he actually hit a coyote that ran out in front of his car.

Beyond coyotes - one morning my husband was leaving for work and there on the road in front of his car was a bobcat, sitting on the blacktop like a very large housecat. It turned at the sight of his car and ran into the ravine.

Our gardens are browsed by mule deer, who eat my potted coleus down to the roots, and it's not uncommon to see their scat - little collections of dark pellets - on the road. Coyote scat is common too - and often contains furry or calcified remains of their prey. Bunnies scamper across the road and duck into the brush when Jack and I take our walk. Chattering squirrels chase each other up tree trunks.


In the day, hawks cry and wheel, and flocks of feral parrots perch on electric wires. During the night, we hear owls call from the oaks, and there's some night bird I can't identify that goes "Awp!"

Living on the boundary of the wild is always interesting.

5 comments:

MAYBELLINE said...

Be careful out there. Make sure to carry some pepper spray.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I would guess that even a full grown coyote would avoid messing with Jack?
~

Aunt Snow said...

County authorities advise keeping your dog on a short leash - not a retractable leash - while walking in a coyote-inhabited area. When you encounter a coyote, wave your arms, shout, make noise and throw small sticks and rocks to make the coyote fear humans - and thus avoid us.

I stamped my feet at the one I saw. I guess I'll get more creative next time.

Deborah said...

I agree, it's a wonderful thing to live so near wildlife. We have far too many encounters out here that end up with Fluffy becoming future coyote or mountain lion scat. So many people do not follow the advice of wildlife officials (the agency where I work). The coyotes in particular have lost their fear of humans in some areas. People don't seem to understand that we are encroaching on their habitat, not vice versa.

Loved tagging along on your walk today, thanks!

spokalulu said...

Yikes! I'd keep a small cowbell with me on walks, and keep my cat indoors at all times.
I have yet to see a coyote here, but I know we have them.