Sticking out into Willapa Bay at the very end of the Long Beach Peninsula is a bird refuge full of interesting creatures. It's a short hike ... take mosquito spray. I've never found mosquitos here before, but this year they are HUGE and there are LOTS of them!!
Actually they were only bad on the way down the forest trail. In a hundred yards, you arrive at the waters edge where they disappeared. Except for those two that kept following me ... which are now dead dead dead!!!
I went fairly early, hoping to catch Miss Coyote. As you can see above, about 9:30 the water was coming back in. Here's the half mile long beach I wanted to walk, looking for treasures and critters. This section is usually full of clam shells, but none were to be found this day other than broken bits.
That's when I spotted the tracks. Coyote tracks ... and they were FRESH! Keeping a close eye on my back for dangerous things like bears and people, I began following them.
Here is where she came OUT of the trees. See that dark sand in the middle? The wet sand fell from the top when she stepped down, right where her tracks in the sand begin. It happens that this is right next to a sign ... the same one she passed by last year. Animals have their territories and tend to follow the same trails.
More fresh tracks. See the light sand in the prints? She has disturbed the wet top layer down to the dry sand below. She was just by here this morning.
I followed her down the beach. Occasionally she made her way closer to the water on the hard pack sand, then wandered back up the hill, jumped up a little incline and went back into the trees. How cool is that!!
I figured to stick around and see if she came back. Hiding in the trees, I fended off an elderly gentleman who wanted to yell at me from 50 yards away. I tried to melt into the sand. He continued talking as he passed by. I gave him directions for the walk-around (bad Nancy) hoping he wouldn't return to the beach. How are you going to see anything if you don't be quiet???
I was rewarded with lots of Blue Heron sightings as about six of them wandered the water's edge, occasionally dipping their head into the water for little fish.
Pretty soon they would squawk really loud and take off, flying to another spot just down the beach.
At long last I gave up. There would be no coyote pictures on this day. I did find a HUGE print on the way back, but it was a dog. Coyote prints come in pairs, like the picture above. These were all spaced far apart. Not cougar or mountain lion since THEIR two front toes are not even .... kind of like your middle finger, one sticks forward of the other. Their claws don't show either, since they are retractable like a kitty cat. You can also draw an imaginary X through the middle of a dog's print. Can you see it? Lucky for me, I saw no bear tracks.
I figured the least I could do was show SOME kind of coyote pictures, so here's a few I took last year from this exact same spot.
Isn't she a beauty? Back in my part of the world, they are much darker and scroungier looking. These guys are red and gorgeous, not to mention fat!!
I'm not giving up ... I'll go back. Surely I'll run across more critters to photograph!!
One thing about all these parks, you have to have a Discovery Pass, which isn't even available at every park. Although I have parked here before with NO pass, I would recommend going to Cape Disappointment State Park and picking one up. A $90 ticket is no fun.
If you remember, last year I got stung by the Park dispenser machine when I punched the button for a DAY pass and got hit with a $30 charge on my credit card for a YEAR'S pass. I left it in my Jeep. It happens that I actually found it yesterday and it is good until the END of the month one year later (August for me). I can do lots of park hopping on that $30 hit!!
Mosquito Bite Counter .... 7