What a day I had! It started with a bike ride on the roads, a tiny bit further than yesterday, as prescribed by the slow recovery from my neck fusion surgery 11 weeks ago. I saw views of the mountains that I haven't seen in months due to my ban from bike riding.During my short ride, I spotted a coyote in a field hunting. He stood stock still and then suddenly pounced onto the snow's crust. The crust collapsed, and a rodent emerged. It was dark colored and big enough that I could see it from 75 yards away - perhaps a vole. The coyote seemed to toy with it. He chased it around on the strong snow crust, occasionally grabbing it in his mouth. One time, he tossed it about 6 ft into the air. Then, he noticed me watching, quickly dispatched the rodent, and trotted away to eat in privacy. While I felt badly for the prolonged terror of the rodent, I was fascinated by watching a coyote hunt completely naturally. I didn't know that they played with their prey after puppyhood - perhaps this coyote is a young one.
Last night, for the first time ever, we had FOUR coyotes under our birdfeeder at one time. I think that they eat fallen seeds when they're very hungry and hunt the mice and other rodents who are attracted to the seed.
After my short bike ride, I took my Labraduo out for a hike/snowshoe. We started on a sun-baked slope where the several feet of snow has melted down to patches.
Soon, however, we dove into the dense pine forest of a north-facing slope. We followed a boulder-choked gulch down a canyon wall. I climbed one boulder pile, precariously balanced on snowshoes, to view the mountains.
And, of course, to take a photo of the Labraduo. R rested his chin on K's back. Perhaps he was covering her back in this wildlife nirvana.
We hit a trail that contoured along the canyon wall, and a bobcat had walked atop the snow ahead of us. Because we were now in sensitive wildlife habitat, I leashed both dogs. R wasn't happy - he has a 'thing' about cats and fired up his turbo engines to follow the bobcat's tracks. Eventually, the bobcat left the trail to climb up a line of boulders, leaving a blank slate of deep and soft snow for us to traverse.
Most of our trail had feet of snow piled on it like where the pups sat in the photo below.
Tall and stout aspens lined much of the trail. Many bore 'bear art' or, in other words, claw marks from bears climbing them. This trail is a favorite travel alley for ursines after the snow melts to a manageable depth.
Just before we turned off the trail, we passed through a south-facing section where the sun had melted the bottomless snow to patches. The Labraduo's body language hit high alert. They stared up the slope silently, with noses and muscles quivering with tension. I imagine that wildlife love this slope right now. Due to its southern exposure, it feels like spring, with bare dirt and sprigs of green on this slope. That spring picture was a clanging contrast from the snowy miles that we'd already hiked along the north-facing parts of the slope.Once we climbed out of "wildlife alley", the dogs romped free again. I found an overlook for a photo of the pair.
Today, I worked on my 1200 photos taken recently by remote wildlife cameras posted outside a bear den. A pair reared up on their hind legs to play.
I put together the first of several video montages of the bear trio's behavior outside their den. I have several remote wildlife cameras posted to capture their images whenever they emerge. In the video here, the bears are just emerging after a stormy couple of weeks and move slowly at first. I'm working the next videos from the same afternoon that include lots of wild playing but I wanted to present the images chronologically. Enjoy!