(2/3) "Tall Tale"⠀
Opportunistic and wily, coyotes sometimes watch attentively as a badger digs for rodents or as an otter fishes, hoping for a chance to steal a meal. Along the Madison River, coyotes watch the bobcats.⠀
For two hours on February 2, 2014, we searched for bobcats along a 3-mile stretch of the Madison. We looked in all the usual hotspots: inside the hollow log, under the riverfront log and at the base of favored boulders and trees. Unless the cats are active, searching often amounts to looking for a bit of fur on a log that serves as camouflage. We’d had no luck until we spotted a coyote scent-tracking along the river. He was inspecting all the same hangouts we had just searched. Abruptly, he crossed the groomed road, giving us a quick glance that seemed to say, “How-can-you-be-so-lame?” Heading directly up into a stand of trees and brush he placed his front paws as far up a spruce tree as he could reach. Then he started climbing.⠀
Slack-jawed, we looked up. Near the top of the tree clung a bobcat with a very dead merganser in its mouth. The coyote kept climbing. First 10 feet, then 20, perhaps 30 feet using his mouth, legs, and tail as tools, circling the trunk as he picked a route skyward. The bobcat watched it all, tightening its grip on the unfortunate merganser, tensed for a tussle. The coyote grabbed the bird with his mouth but the bobcat held on and suddenly the tree rained a cat and a dog. When the snow settled, the canid had the merganser and the feline marched away to lick its wounded pride and wet fur.⠀
Cindy Goeddel (@goeddelphotography) here, and I am doing a takeover for the week. If you are not already a member, please consider joining GYC and help us celebrate and protect all things wild.⠀
Don’t forget to head over to @greateryellowstone where I am taking over for the week!
Hi everyone, it’s Cindy Goeddel @goeddelphotography and this is Day 4 of my week-long takeover. Thank you for following along and sharing.
On February 2, 2017, I had the photographic opportunity of a lifetime. The temperature hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit and it snowed most of the day, but occasionally the sun battled through. For nearly 5 hours, I huddled in a snow pit and photographed a bobcat as he stalked along the Madison River. Three Canada Geese and a few ducks floated by his hiding place at the base of a rock. But he was careful not to reveal his presence. Hours passed. Then, he focused on a drake mallard several hundred yards downstream. Deciding to move closer, he used a deep bison trail along the river to stay out of sight, pausing to watch the mallard. ⠀
Since the cat moved, I had to move, too. Shouldering my tripod, camera and 500mm lens, I lumbered up from the snow pit and used the groomed road to make my way downstream. The bobcat was out of sight but I thought I knew where he might stop. I plunged off the road and into chest high powder. One laborious step at a time, I was able to place myself directly across the river from the mallard. But no bobcat was visible. What if he hadn’t come this far downstream? What if I was the only photographer foolish enough to plow a 100-yard trench to nowhere, using only my body and my tripod as tools? Then, still catching my breath, I raised my binoculars and spotted two tufted ears about 50 yards upstream.⠀
For 9 interminable minutes the bobcat watched the mallard circling immediately below him; back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Finally, when the mallard’s head was down, the bobcat leapt. The watery battle lasted nearly a minute. The bobcat won.⠀
If you are interested in seeing more of my work or learning about upcoming workshops, please give my website a visit: goeddelphotography.com
This young female stayed well back from all the activity, preferring to watch from a safe distance whilst her brother investigated us! Mum was close on the heels of the young male, making sure he didn’t get too close...