Friday, August 26, 2016


Funny how things can go from bad to spectacular overnight!!  As a photographer, you have lots of subjects to choose from ... portraits, landscapes, advertising ... but you should always go for what excites you most.  For me, it's critters!!  There's nothing better than tracking an animal and finally being able to get some amazing images of them being themselves.  I guess that's the animal lover in me.

Around Long Beach, the best place to do that is Ledbetter State Park at the very tip of the Peninsula.  Park in the lot, take the trail at the south corner for 50 feet or so and turn right at the Y.  It takes you directly to Willapa Bay.  This time I remembered to check the tide tables.  You want to hike this area when the tide is out in order to see all the creatures.
As I walked along the water's edge, I spotted several baby dungeness crab WAY far from the water.  Hopefully they are alive today because I transported all of them out through the mud to the waters edge.  Cute little guys!!   I also saw lots of tracks that might be dog, but they were different.  The nails were really long and showed up in the sand.
And then I saw her!!  Way down the beach Miss Coyote was stalking the birds at water's edge.  RATS!!  I brought my biggest lens, but don't have it on the camera yet.
I tried to be stealthy and get a little closer, but she caught me immediately.  I know I'm down wind so she can't smell me, but they have very keen eyesight!!  I froze.  It didn't work.  Even though there was no one else around, that movement was enough to scare her back into the woods.
Disappointed, I sat on a log for 30 minutes waiting for her to come back.  To my left, I heard some yipping, so I scanned the area with my camera, to find a SECOND younger coyote at the farthest end of the beach.
Well SHOOT!!  I still don't have the big lens on!  What the heck did I bring it for?  I figured I wouldn't see them again, so I didn't bother.  It's HEAVY!  At 17 inches long, it's also very hard to steady without a tripod.  This guy paid attention to the yipping and headed to the trees.
About that time, I heard these kids coming down the beach.  Isn't it cool how you meet the nicest people in the middle of nowhere?  This is Christina, who is holding Sierra Rain (not sure Rain is spelled correctly) along with twins Caiden and Landen.  Talk about world travelers, Sierra's first trip was through the Panama Canal!!
As you can see, the boys were gathering seaweed.  I showed them the coyote tracks in the sand and we looked for awhile, but didn't see them again.  As they went on their way, I meandered slowly back along the beach, hoping to see Miss Coyote just one more time.
As I stopped to rearrange my backpack on a big log half buried in the sand, OH MY GOSH ... there she is!!!  I couldn't believe my luck!!  I immediately dropped to the mud and stayed as low as possible as I changed to the big lens.  She hid behind this grass for quite awhile, peeking her head up occasionally to see where I was.  I stayed quiet as a mouse.
With the wind still in my favor, she walked through the grass straight towards me.  My heart was beating so hard I'm sure she heard it!!
As she nosed around, she kept a wary eye in my direction.  By now, my leg is cramping, my pants are soaking up the nice stinky saltwater and the sun is burning my feet.  I'm pretty sure it's 90 degrees out, but I'm NOT moving.
The next thing I know, she's marking her territory.  Maybe she thinks I'm a big dog ... or competition at least, who knows.  After twice making sure I knew this was HER hunting grounds, she turned around and headed back toward the tree line.
That's mud on her back foot ... she picked up as much as I did traipsing out to the water's edge.  It's probably been 20 minutes now and I'm very uncomfortable.
But I'm NOT moving.   I imagine she heard the clicking of the lens.  I think I snapped 100 images of this beauty.  
She looks to be in excellent shape, so her hunting skills must be very good.  As I watched her through the lens, I was shocked to see her coming right towards me.  Looking through a lens can be deceiving.  When I peeked above the camera, she was about 150 feet away as she stopped to sniff the sand before jumping on to the original log I was sitting on and disappearing into the trees.
WOW!!!  Just wow!!  I'm in seventh heaven!!  Of course you never know if you got good images until you upload them to your computer, but I was thrilled to get anything.  

As I packed to leave, I met three locals in the parking lot who told me of a mother beat and her cub they have seen traverse the entry road.  Maybe I'll drag that tripod out and set it up for a few mornings.

I was so happy when I got back that even the twelve RV's that came in with screaming kids didn't bother me.  Well, not quite.  The one that parked next to me and let their kids run from one end of their rig to the other ..... over and over .... until 11:00 pm, irritated me to no end.  It's okay though ... I got coyote pictures!!!


  1. Surprised she has No tracking collar

    1. Neither one had a collar ... maybe because they aren't endangered?