Sunday, February 10, 2008
The Old Coot and the Coyote
That's one of maybe 1000 or more coots at Lake Balboa, at this time of year. However, in this story I'm the old coot. Just thought you might not know what a coot looks like!
I got to Lake Balboa at dawn, as usual, and walked Molly around. We played a lot of tennis ball chuckit on the field on the first lap. A chuckit is an amazing tennis ball launching device that works wonders for feeble throwers like me. I always have it with me at the lake. It's about two feet long, with a cup to hold the tennis ball and some kind of aerodynamic engineering so it goes really far.
(photo from a year ago- wish I'd had the camera with me today.)
On the second lap, I took her out on the field and practiced some of the things we'd learned yesterday in obedience class: off leash healing, and distance downs and sits . I tried some find-its throwing food about when she was running off after the tennis ball and she liked finding them on her return.
I put her on a really L O N G distance down stay and then called her. She came running right to me. As a reward I threw the chuckit tennis ball one more time. As she was running back with the ball, she suddenly stopped and looked away. She never stops on her way back with the ball.
And there was a beautiful, solo, coyote staring at us, and then walking straight towards us but still at a distance. I told Molly "down-stay" as I rushed to her to get the leash on. She lay down reluctantly. The coyote was still approaching us. I waved the chuckit stick at the coyote and used my exorcist voice to scare it off. It didn't scare. It was small but it was bold.
We headed towards the sidewalk. I kept looking behind me and the coyote was still approaching us. In fact it even flanked us, which was creepy. Then it seemed to change its mind, and moved off. I saw it it stick its nose in a hole and pull out and eat something wiggling, in one gulp. I thought they chewed first!
Molly was much bigger than the coyote. I could tell she knew it wasn't a dog. She wasn't flipping on her leash the way she might have if it were a loose dog. But she was wary of it, and it was a wonderful way to start the day, exciting, a little scary, a taste of the wild.
Here's a link to an earlier Lake Balboa coyote encounter. That coyote was much bigger.
and here's today's cute? baby picture. The reason it's blurry is baby on the left rises up to intimidate me when I approach! The combo of white feathers and black skin is extra weird. Silky chickens have black skin, but surely James Brown the giant dove hasn't mated with a chicken!