Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Morning: Spotting Wildlife in the Bay Area


Coyote Patrolling Russian Ridge OSP

Don't tell the Coyotes, Foxes, Bobcats, Mountain Lions and other predatory animals of the Bay Area grasslands, but they're not invisible anymore.

Its the late fall and around this time of year their camouflage, the tall dry summer grass, drops away and until the curtain of fresh green grass that comes every winter rises up in its place The Bay Areas predatory animals are on display.

Late fall is the best time of the year to spot the hunters who act as if they still have the protection of the tall grasses and boldly roam in the open hills.

I took to the mountains last week in Russian Ridge OSP and sure enough within 15 minutes I spotted a coyote prowling along an adjacent ridge line. A few more minutes passed and I found another one not 100 feet away, hunting for mice in what was left of the grasses.

Indeed from now until the fresh grass rises again its almost difficult not to spot hunters on the prowl. Increasing your odds still, you can follow a few additional rules:

  • Look for fresh tracks in the mud.
  • Avoid heavily wooded & dense redwood forests in favor of open grassy slopes.
  • Keep away from major roads.
  • Bobcats and Mountain Lions are most active at dawn & dusk. Coyotes hunt all day.
  • Avoid crowded trails, the animals will.

Happy viewing!

A Quick Note: These are wild animals and should treated with caution as they can be dangerous. They are best viewed from a distance. There is no need to be aggressive with them initially as they will probably simply move away once they realize you see them. Should one show eratic behavior the best best is to back away, facing the animal and at last resort wave your arms, put your pack over your head and shout at it. Attacks are very, very rare.

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