After lunch today I decided to go out to Point Reyes. I’m anxious for the coyotes and bobcats to return to their winter ways of spending more time out during daylight hours and I hoped I’d see some today. I had barely gotten inside the Seashore when I saw a lot of badger diggings on a hillside. They looked fresh, although it had rained last night and I wondered if the wetness of the dirt made them look fresher than they were. I scanned all the diggings and the one that was highest up the hill had a brownish lump on the side of the digging. It was partly obstructed by vegetation. I grabbed my 7X binoculars and took a look. They weren’t powerful enough to be certain, but it looked like brown fur and it wasn’t moving. I assumed it was a badger and that it was asleep. I grabbed my lens and tripod and decided to move slowly up the hill to try to get close enough for a good photo. I used a telephone pole between us as cover.
I got to about 40 to 50 yards from what I knew by then was a badger and was about to shoot a few frames when out of the corner of my eye I caught a flash of movement. It was a a coyote and it was running straight up the hill on my left. I have no idea why or how the coyote did that. I think it may have been sleeping somewhere to the left of the badger and me and I startled it. I started shooting the coyote as it ran, but it topped the hill quickly. I re-focused on the badger and, no surprise, it was no longer asleep. It was staring straight at me. I’m sure the coyote caught its attention first and the noise from my shutter got its attention next. I fired off several shots and the badger went down the burrow it had dug. It quickly popped back up to take a longer look at me. After a few seconds it had seen enough.
After a bit, I circled around the burrow hoping he’d come up again and, not seeing me where he expected me to be, he’d come out. It was not to be and after about 30 minutes I gave up. It was a good start though.
It turned out that that was the high point of the afternoon. I did see another coyote later. I also had one bobcat cross the road in front of me. I also saw another critter for a second or two before it disappeared into a swale. I think it was either a bobcat or coyote. Things were pretty slow elk-wise on the Tomales Peninsula.
I then headed over to Drake’s Beach hoping to see some elk on the way or maybe something at Drake’s Beach itself. On the way I saw a burrowing owl that my friend Jeff told me about just before the turnoff for Drake’s Beach. There was also a big 7-point bull elk on the east side of the road to Drake’s Beach. Drake’s Beach itself was dead. I then headed back to Pierce Point. It’s often pretty good for elk late in the day. Not today.
Things seem to be getting better at Point Reyes in terms of seeing bobcats and coyotes.