Wild Coyote we sighted at Claireville Conservation Area

Wild Coyote we sighted at Claireville Conservation Area

A wild Coyote gives me a look as it stands in a snow covered field in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

A visit to the Claireville Conservation Area one Sunday turned up a rare sighting of a wild Coyote for Bob and I.  Before we barely set off from the parking lot, fellow visitors to the park were drawing our attention to the Coyote emerging from the edge of the bush.

Water flows along snowy banks of a stream in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario

Claireville Conservation Area is an 848-hectare parcel of  conservation land located on the west branch of the Humber River on the edge of Toronto,  Ontario.  When we visited, the ice had already melted from the surface of the various waterways given the warmer spring temperatures over the past week or so.

Photo of bush in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

The landscape of the park is diverse and includes numerous creeks and ravines, flat plains, and rolling hills that all combine to enrich the forested landscape.  It seemed quite wild in the isolation of some areas.

Photo of a wild Coyote moving through thick bush in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Can you spot the coyote in this photograph?  The colour of its fur blends amazingly well with the tawny shades of the dead grass and bare branches.

Photo of a wild Coyote moving through thick bush in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

In this photo, the contours of the wild coyote can be distinguished a little more easily.   Tracking the coyote’s movements through my camera lens was a challenge because it blended in so well with the landscape.

Photo of a Coyote walking slowly and smelling the air in the bush, in the Claireville Conservation Area, in northwest Toronto - Ontario. March 8, 2013

Claireville Conservation Area was abuzz with other like-minded people – those wanting to get out and enjoy the very warm and sunny day.  Many visitors had brought along their dogs, which didn’t go unnoticed by the coyote.

Photo of a wild Coyote's back as its moves through long grass in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

When a couple of the dogs caught sight of the wild coyote, they started barking madly.  The coyote then headed off in the opposite direction, mounting a small ridge topped with a stand of evergreen trees.

In this video that Bob filmed, the dogs are barking frantically, which gains the attention of the coyote.

Photo of a Coyote taking a good look at something in the forest in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Coyotes have a rather grizzled appearance, with blackish, brownish, reddish and tawny patches of fur, and a creamy to white-coloured throat and chest.  Coyotes are smaller than wolves.

A Coyote stops and takes a look at something in the bush, in the Claireville Conservation Area, in northwest Toronto - Ontario. March 8, 2013

Eastern Coyotes are, for the most part, one and the same as coywolves.  Apparently, in this same conservation area, people have seen one very large coyote that has a black coat.  It would be much easier to spot in amongst the bare bushes, but we never came across it that day.

Photo of a wild Coyote moving slowly through long grass, and snow in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

The camouflage provided by the coyote’s fur really emphasized how an animal can disappear right before your eyes.

hoto of a wild Coyote moving through long grass, and smelling the snow in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Unlike a wolf, a coyote has a bushy, thick tail, which it holds low to the ground, although, when running, coyotes keep their puffy tails held straight, angling them straight out or downward.

Photo of a wild Coyote looking back to see what is in the snowy forest in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Coyotes feed mainly on smaller animals like mice and rabbits, even woodchucks and beavers, but they also will consume insects and fruit, and occasionally carrion.  With the areas of wetland and forest in this conservation area, the coyotes would have a variety of animals to prey upon.

Photo of a wild Coyote moving quickly through thick bush in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Coyotes often hunt in pairs and when together will prey on animals such as deer.  Wolves, on the other hand, hunt in packs and take down mostly larger mammals like moose or deer.  Judging by the abundance of deer tracks in the snow at the conservation area, I would imagine this population of coyotes has had ample food to eat over the course of the winter.

In this video that Bob filmed, the wild Coyote stopped in its tracks  and took time to study us.

Photo of a wild Coyote moving quickly through thick bush in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Photo of a Coyote look at us in a snow covered field in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Certainly, this member of the coyote family had a thick, healthy-looking coat of fur.

A wild Coyote gives me a look as it stands in a snow covered field in the Claireville Conservation Area, in Toronto - Ontario March 8, 2013

Coyotes have longer ears and a more pointed nose than wolves, and their legs are noticeably thinner and shorter.

A Coyote moves slowly through snowy grass in the Claireville Conservation Area, in northwest Toronto - Ontario

Bob and I tracked the coyote for about a half hour as it wove its way through long grass, under bare bushes and beneath evergreen boughs.  As it finally melded into the underbrush, we remarked on the similarity to our experience in South Africa where a lion strolled almost unseen through the tall grass of the savannah in Kruger National Park.

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