Monday, May 30, 2011

Hostility at the river, 5-30-11

As we approached the river a large hawk sailed past our Jeep and down toward the river bottom. As he glided down a small bird dove repeatedly and furiously at him from above. The hawk never flapped its wings or in any way seemed perturbed.

We got to the river at about 07:00. The sun may have been up elsewhere, but it was not yet up above our local mountains and the temperature was still in the 40s. We hiked northeast for about 90 minutes veering away from the golf course when we noticed a man in a bright red jacket looking for golf balls.

We got to the river service road to head back west. As we climbed up on the road I could see a jogger perhaps 300 yards behind us coming our way, and coming toward us from the west was a family of about eight Hispanic people. I considered stopping and putting a leash on Ginger when I saw that one of the men had a German Shepherd, but there was no good place to stop and Ginger knowing my intentions was dancing away from me. The man had his GSD on leash and walked down into the river bottom to get around us. Friendly Ginger of course headed down to say hello to the GSD. The man frantically waved his arms at Ginger to ward her off.

“She’s friendly,” I yelled at the man. “Don’t worry.”

The pointed to his GSD and yelled back, “he’s not. Sorry.”

Ginger got about 15 feet away from the GSD and stopped. After looking it over carefully as it leaped about trying to pull his leash loose, she decided she agreed with the man and returned to us without further disagreement.

Someone I hadn’t noticed earlier was catching up with us from the east; so we headed down into the river bottom. The entrance to a trail I intended to use was completely overgrown with spring flowers and bushes so we had to push through. We walked along until suddenly from just a few feet away we heard the maniacal and menacing howling of a coyote. This was the spot where we had heard that same call in the past. In fact it may have been the same coyote we’ve encountered before – perhaps coming to her favorite spot to have a litter of pups. We three stopped to peer in the direction of the howls but couldn’t, at least I couldn’t, see her. I looked at the girls’ backs: no hackles, so obviously no big deal to them, but it was a very big deal to the coyote. It was as though she was saying, “you’d better keep away from my pups or I’ll tear you limb from limb and feed you to them.” She was probably just bluffing but we kept moving anyway.

The Olympus E-1 struggled with the low-light conditions during the time before the sun made it up. I would have taken the Pentax K-20d, with its better low-light capability, but it had a sensor I couldn’t clean & so had to send it back to the Camera-Store seller in Texas. I should get its replacement by this coming Thursday. I was using a Sigma 18-125mm lens today.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The mountain photo is a treat to my eyes. All of these are so beautiful and it is so wonderful to see natural land with no humans milling around--just canines being free!