Came across this jake gobbler on Tuesday’s trip to the ranch. He survived his first Thanksgiving, but he may not make it to Christmas.
Photographed a few other critters. Here they are:
Looped around the perimeter of Mayberry last Saturday. Because our property is permanent marsh, most of the wildlife is just across the drainage canal on the grazing ground.
White-front geese stage at Sherman Island and it looks like they are about ready to head north.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
Not sure why this single spec didn’t take off with his brethren, but he eventually flew off to join them.
As I watched some waterfowl, waiting for a good photo opportunity, I heard a splash in the canal next to me. Figuring it was river otters, I paused before turning to look. When I did, it was just in time to see a coyote dog-shaking to get the water off his back.
The goats of Mayberry were back, cleaning up the vegetation on the levee. Hope they left enough cover for the pheasants to nest.
Although the number of hunters was a little higher than hoped for, overall our X-12 deer hunt was a positive experience.
When we found out there would be ten hunters camped on our trail within a quarter-mile of each other, we were a bit discouraged. However, we managed to get along well with our neighbors and minimize interference with each other. A few other hunters wandered into the area as well and after opening day, it became a bit tough to find a buck.
As for me, I set up a spike camp a couple miles away and was fortunate enough to find a decent buck on opening day. Still hunting through fir trees at about 10,000 ft, I surprised a small group of deer that included a 3×4 buck. From 50 yards, I didn’t miss and he went down in a hurry. I was satisfied to be able to hike the mountain and bag a fine buck once more. I never know how many more chances I’ll have. The hiking and climbing was both invigorating and tiring.
Here are a few shots of the hunt.
Came upon a mountain lion track while hiking near Del Valle Reservoir last week. It had been raining and the ground was nearly saturated, good conditions for seeing tracks.
I was looking at a variety of tracks when I came upon a set of mountain lions prints. I photographed one the clearest tracks with my iPhone camera. Here it is.
The heel pad of a lion appears larger than a coyote or other canine.
Here’s a good example of a coyote track.
The mature coyote track is smaller than the mature lion track. Large domestic dogs often leave tracks as large as lion tracks and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. In the case of this lion, I would give the ID a high degree of confidence.
The pair of coyote tracks in the above photo was pointed out to me by my brother, Rob, during one of our reptile surveys. He had already figured out what was going on, before telling me about them. The tracks were the front feet of a coyote. They were deeply groved into the soft dirt, an indication that the dog had stood in one place, moving his head and forcing the tracks into the ground deeper than usual. The size of the tracks was just right for a coyote, but I wouldn’t rule out a gray fox.
Two feet in front of the tracks was a bush that completely blocked the view in his front vision. He wouldn’t have been looking ahead of him as he could only see about one foot. Yet he had stood in this position for more than a brief moment. About a foot in front of the track, ants were traveling in and out of an ant hole. The coyote had stopped at this spot to feast on a few ants before moving on.
With a little assistance, the picture is made more clear.
Here are the ants.
I wonder how many ants a coyote can eat.
You never know what will pop up next on the ranch road. After a very uneventful turkey hunt, it seemed like I’d never get home for all the wildlife that kept showing up in front of me.