These photos above show the wary interloper coyote carefully and quickly passing through.
Coyotes are territorial, and they guard and protect these territories. Seldom have I seen intruders — the coyotes I repeatedly see in different parks are resident coyotes who are very at home in their territories. Today I saw an intruder — but I wasn’t able to figure this out until I had gone home afterwards to blow up my photos — coyotes look quite different from each other once you get to know them, but when the lighting is bad and the distance is great, sometimes this isn’t immediately apparent. At the time I wondered why one of the coyotes was so on edge and tense, keeping a huge distance, tail down and wary, looking around and fixating into the distance, and finally hurrying off as if to avoid something. There were no dogs around, but the coyote was uneasy anyway. I followed it over the crest of a hill.
Here I caught up with the coyote, or so I thought, but its energy had changed drastically. Rather than being wary and skittish, the coyote was energized and exuberant, excited and enthusiastic, rushing this way and that, sniffing all over the place and obviously onto a scent. Within minutes I saw a buddy of this coyote’s in this same mode — these two are friends who spend most of their time together. These coyotes were absorbed and focused in a frantic sort of way. They were following the scent of something, loosing the trail, jumping and running about, and then picking it up again. They covered quite a distance which baffled me, because any rodent or raccoon or even a domestic cat would not have been able to cover the distances that these coyotes were sniffing out and rushing through. It was not until I got home and examined my photos that I realized that the first coyote was an intruder, an outsider, and the other two coyotes were intent on finding it and flushing it out.
Once before I had seen a stranger coyote pass quickly through an established territory. When one of the resident coyotes appeared in the vicinity some time afterwards, it caught the scent and followed in this same manner. I’m wondering what might have happened if the resident coyotes had caught up with the interloper? As it was, I don’t think they ever did.
These photos below show two coyotes excited and enthusiastic, on the trail of the first.