A Coyote in the Valley
Posted 3/14/2013

You can't really go wrong when you visit Yosemite, it's an amazing place, there's no such thing as a bad visit.

However I'm greedy, and I was hoping that one or more of a few things might happen during my recent visit and I got lucky in that one did. I've seen coyotes hunting in the meadows of Yosemite Valley before now, typically at the beginning or end of the day when the light is scarce and the ability to capture their actions in photos is severely limited. I was hoping to see that activity again, even if I couldn't capture it.

Within an hour of me arriving in the park and after I'd just checked out Bridalveil Fall, I'm driving by a meadow in the middle of the afternoon and I spot a coyote. I pull over and I appear to be the only person pointing a camera directly opposite Yosemite Falls (plenty of cameras are pointing at the falls - and who can blame them, the falls were full of water for this time of year).

After a minute or so, the coyote stops, sensing something under the meadow, then after a few seconds of freeze time, it pounces.

The coyote buried its head into the meadow, and after a few seconds of digging around in the grass, it appeared with something in its mouth.

Over the next minute or so it chomped on and rearranged its capture as it did its best to quickly consume its prey.

During this time, lots of tourists were either still looking the other way or driving by the whole scene not noticing what was going on.

A few folks spotted what was going on (not sure if they spotted me pointing a 400mm lens away from the falls, or spotted the coyote itself) and whilst most kept quiet and kept their distance, a few got overexcited and started shouting to their friends etc.

As soon as the coyote finished its meal, it quickly moved away from the louder folks who were too obnoxious for its comfort. It headed off over the snow and into the trees and away from prying eyes.

A very cool experience. I was wondering how the rest of my trip would live up to this early experience. It turned out that this was the highlight of the trip, but as I said at the top of this article, you can't go wrong in Yosemite. I had an excellent time during the whole of my visit.
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