With temperatures having finally warmed up to a balmy -6 degrees Celsius, I decided to head out in the afternoon, hopeful that an increase of more than 20 degrees C in air temperature might draw out more wildlife.
Just like people, all wildlife needs to eat but in severe cold, it must be a fine balancing act between searching for food and expending valuable calories & trying to limit searches in order to find food. And if prey such as voles, mice & rabbits, etc. have hunkered down, it makes it that much more difficult for predators to locate a meal.
There I was ever optimistic even though it had already begun to snow, much earlier than predicted. It wasn't the heavy kind but the light and steady fall, with an overcast sky.
So I opted to continue and was fortunate early on to spot some Mule Deer grazing on top of a hill. It was a small group, with a large buck/stag and a younger male and two does & two offspring. So I stayed and took advantage of a few mock battles between the two males against the winter scenery. Eventually the herd moved up and out of sight and I decided to pack it in but thought I would take the long way around "just in case".
And then way up on a hill but making its way down rapidly was a coyote. I lost track of it as I made my way through the snow (I do like to remain upright in slippery conditions, particularly with camera equipment) but once I had made it to the clearing, I searched the area below the hill which is covered with trees & thicket.
And then it was a waiting game. As I had not kept the coyote in my line of sight, it could have already left under the cover of the trees. But then after 15 minutes, I spotted it through the grasses & shrubbery, when it made its way out of into the clearing and headed across the meadow to the creek across from which I was standing (Photo #1 & Photo #2).
The following photos hopefully capture this beautiful coyote in its thick winter coat in its pursuit of rodents, etc., against a pure white background, with an overcast sky & falling snow (Photo #3 & Photo #4). There seems to be a methodic approach to the coyote's covering of the landscape. It has purpose but not speed as it thoroughly investigates any potential noise or scent (Photo #5 through Photo 8).
And then there was the pause & look back before moving on and walking into the woods (Photo #9).