The end of the day on the Blacktail Plateau in Yellowstone, February 8, 2013.
A lone coyote makes his way across a hillside in the late afternoon sun.
He’s looking at his shadow, trying to figure out how it is that he’s suddenly turned into a tropical iguana.
Or a warthog.
Before the wolves returned to Yellowstone in 1995, the coyotes there had a pretty cushy life. Sure, they had to watch out for mountain lions and grizzlies -and cars – but for the most part they were in charge. In the winter, especially, they were the kings: the grizzlies were sleeping, and they could have their fill of winter-killed elk and bison. I imagine it was a pretty rude shock once the first wolves were released to discover that someone way bigger than they were was not going to let them near a downed elk until all of the good stuff was gone.
The coyote population decreased by about half in the first ten years after the wolves were re-introduced, but you can still see plenty of them in the park, especially on a clear winter day.
As I watched the lone guy checking out his shadow, another coyote trotted up over the ridge, and came to say hello.
I’m thinking we’ve got a dating situation going on here.
They move in for a closer look:
Dance around for a bit:
And that’s it. They go their separate ways.
Maybe not a date, after all.
Beautiful shots and story. I’m looking forward to going there in a couple of months.
That’s great: can’t wait to see your posts from that visit!
We actually have coyotes here in the city, right in our neighborhood not three miles from downtown. I always enjoy seeing them. Thanks for the lovely photos.
They are so adaptable. My farming relatives really can’t stand them, but I really like their spunk.
So exactly how far were you from these coyotes? Apparently there are lots in Minnesota, too, although I’ve never seen, only heard, them. Great shots and accompanying story.
I was probably about 300 feet from them, I’d guess. They didn’t care that we were skiing past them. Thanks!
You know how to start a rumour then … Great pictures and commentary, thanks!
Heh…always looking for romance, I guess!
Beautiful shots! I particularly love the one with both coyotes with the sun sparkling on the snow. I love Yellowstone. We have only been in the summer, but it’s one of my favorite places. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks! Having the chance to go to Yellowstone is one of the things that makes winter bearable for me, so I’m glad I can do it. (And discovering how fun it is to share stuff on my blog helps with the winter doldrums as well!)
What beautiful coats they have in the winter, not the scrawny summer look I’m used to. Great pictures! From what I am reading the Blacktail wolves are pretty active now too. Can’t wait until I can return in May!
I’ve been reading the same thing. We were skiing near where they were, and I did hear some howling, but never saw them. And I can’t wait until May just because it will be warm (kind of!).
We love Yellowstone in the winter. It is like you have your own private park…just beautiful. 🙂
It is wonderfully empty! Thanks.
Great shots and the Lamar Valley is a great place!
I cross country ski and I’d like to take my Digital SLR camera along, but I haven’t come up with a good way to have the camera handy, yet protected from the cold. How do you carry your camera while you’re skiing?
Thanks. The camera isn’t usually too handy while I’m skiing – it’s in a case in my backpack, so I have to stop and fumble around for a while. I keep it out more when I’m snowshoeing, just because I’m not so worried about losing my balance!
Do you have trouble with it functioning when it’s below 20-ish F? Mine quit on me again today at 14 degrees F. I read somewhere the LCD screens can’t take those temps.
I haven’t had the camera that long, but I’m sure when I was in Glacier a few weeks ago it was down to about 10 degrees, and it seemed fine. Much below that and I don’t function too well, either!
I’ll have to investigate a little more…
I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award! Come check it out and claim your award: http://westeastern.me/2013/02/17/the-liebster-award/
Thanks very much, Jessy. I’ve chosen to not participate in these awards, but I sure do appreciate the thought.
I love the cute shadow shots. They had me giggling because I never would have noticed if you hadn’t pointed them out.
Thanks. I actually didn’t notice them until I turned the picture too far and looked at it upside down.
Oh wow, amazing, I long to visit Yellowstone in the winter. Those coyotes are so cool.
Absolutely worth a winter visit. Thanks!
I envy your access! But I also enjoy it enormously, traveling with you in this vicarious way. Great post.
That’s wonderful to hear.