…morning light is magic…

Coyote at Anahuac NWR

Had a most excellent adventure with a coyote yesterday at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. I arrived at Anahuac around 6:30 a.m. and headed to Frozen Point to try to find the short-eared owl. With the cloudy conditions, it was very dark before sunrise and couldn’t spot any activity.

Drove back towards Shoveler’s Pond and saw a couple of trucks tracking something along the canal. Found my buddy Doug in full camo pointing out where a coyote was working the opposite bank of the canal. Luckily, he started coming back towards us and we started shooting away. He eventually got back to the main road and I backed my car up and followed him for a short distance until he started hunting in the grass along site the road. It was very cool to see him jump up and down like a mousing fox.

Got a couple of decent head shots and he then came up with his prey, a field rat. He brought it out on the road and ended up playing with it like a puppy would play with a toy right in front of my car. Tried to take photos of him out my car window but my car wasn’t in the best position with my side mirror kept getting in my way and it was challenging to shoot over it. Didn’t want to spook him by opening my car door initially. Stopped taking still photos a couple of times and took video with my iPhone. I’ll post one of those later. Eventually opened my door to get an unobstructed view of him.

Parents always tell their kids not to play with their food, but this coyote was a master at it. He would pick up the rat and throw it around and then try to intimidate it by baring its teeth as he stood above it. He eventually ate the rat and then started staring at something to my right, which ended up being Doug laying down near the right side of my car. He slowly started to stalk Doug and then Doug showed up next to me.

Here is one of my favorite shots. Don’t worry Doug, I would have repositioned myself to get the shot if he wanted to play with you.

With the low light, had to use full open aperture and sacrificed depth of field to get the shot. Initially was using ISO 6400 but backed off to 3200 for this photo.

1/125 sec @ F 5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 2/3 exposure compensation, aperture priority, 700mm



10 responses

  1. I love all the colors in his coat and the expression on his face is great! Fantastic shot!

    December 30, 2018 at 11:54 am

  2. Randy Bacon

    Sounds like a cool encounter and this is a stunning shot. I wouldn’t sweat the depth of field, it’s sharp where it needs to be sharp.

    December 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm

  3. Thanks Newton. Much appreciated.

    December 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm

  4. Thanks Randy. It was lots of fun. Was too close but didn’t want to miss any of the action by taking off my teleconverter.

    December 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm

  5. Rod Strayer

    Great picture Tim and glad that Doug is still with us and not some Coyote’s chew toy,
    We have been seeing the coyotes up here in LaGrange and Noble Counties more and more along with the Wild Turkeys that have been showing up to our front door.

    Tim, do you normally see Great Kiskadees down in your area? One was just spotted on highway 9, a first for Indiana. It is my understanding they normally live in Texas and Central America.

    December 30, 2018 at 1:18 pm

  6. Hey Rod. That name is a blast from the past for sure. Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting. Are you still in the LaGrange area? How did you find my blog?

    We don’t get Great Kiskadees in SE Texas but have seen them in south Texas closer to the Mexico boarder. Didn’t know that they would make it to Indiana.

    December 30, 2018 at 4:15 pm

  7. leasafley

    Awesome picture! I’ve been searching a friends property on Boliver for owls that frequent their fields, but no luck yet. Maybe the coyotes are keeping the rodents for themselves.

    January 31, 2019 at 7:46 am

  8. Thanks Lea. Have you looked at Anahuac NWR? There are at least 2 short eared owls over there.

    February 17, 2019 at 2:10 pm

  9. Good times, Tim! I think that Coyote wanted to whisper something in my ear. I at least would have had a killer full frame shot of it looking right at me as I lay in the grass for my efforts. I do believe it was just curious, but it kept coming my way, so I felt it better to get up and out of the way. Lol.

    May 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm

  10. Thanks Doug. Got some great shots. You went back into the archives for this one.

    May 29, 2020 at 7:57 pm

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