Tracking a Lake Erie Coyote

We see a lot of fox and coyote tracks on the beach and we even catch a glimpse of them occassionally, mostly in the winter when they prowl the ice near shore looking for dead fish and birds though.  And I've always been interested in animal tracks and tracking so when I found fresh coyote tracks on the beach, I decided to follow them. 


We hiked up this waterfall the day before and since the 'yote's tracks were on top of our's, I knew they were relatively new.  But when I got a better look at them in some snow, I began to realize just how fresh they were.

Coyote Tracks




The light was flat, but I was able to get a decent picture of two of its tracks very close together about half way up the waterfall.

Coyote Piss






I whizzed in this exact spot the day before on a small rock outcrop, so I found it interesting that the 'yote not only paused here, but it urinated too.  Since it was the same spot, it seems likely that it was covering my scent with its own in a territorial display of sorts.

Coyote Tracks




Once above the waterfall, the coyote immediately took to some brush through the snow, all the while avoiding a dense section of bramble.  I followed it for a while, but then it headed into one of the thicker areas and I decided to head for the clearing that was up ahead in the hopes of picking its trail back up.

Bluff overlooking Beach



As I hoped, I did find the tracks in the clearing, or at the very least I found another set of fresh coyote tracks, but either way they headed along the bluff over looking the beach in the general direction I was going, so I began following them again.  This is one of my favorite views of the beach and the light conditions made for a great picture.




After a very short time, the tracks headed onto a paved area from one of the now long-gone buildings on the abandoned property I was on.  The blood on the snow was first to catch my eye and as I got closer, I found several parts of a seagull laying there.

Bloody Bones




The bones, wing, and leg looked very fresh, so I started to wonder if I had just interrupted its lunch.  And just then, I noticed a very small pool of blood that hadn't frozen on one of the bones.  Since it was a very cold that day, well below freezing, I instantly became aware that the 'yote had eaten the seagull very recently, if not just minutes earlier.  I quickly looked around just to make sure I wasn't being watched...

Bird Foot

I suspect the 'yote carried off the rest of the bird, since I only found a wing, leg, and unknown bone, and a few other small pieces.  

Bird Wing






I flipped the wing over to get a picture for identification purposes.  I'm not sure what type of seagull this is, since we see a lot of different ones up there.

Beach View





Since its tracks headed away from the beach, where I was headed, I decided to stop following it.  But on my way back to the beach, I found this heavily tracked section through the trees that included fox, coyote, deer, and I'm sure countless other animals as well.  The tracks led through the deep piles of driftwood and other debris, but once they got to the beach, they dispersed in a million different directions.