Photographer Elaine Miller Bond didn’t have far to go to take these beautiful photographs of a coyote and a red-shouldered hawk. They were shot right here in Tilden Regional Park late last year. Read her descriptions of the encounters:
My eyes went straight to this coyote, crouching low in the grass, when I drove my usual road home. I pulled my car onto the shoulder, and surprisingly, the coyote seemed unfazed. It took leaping bounds; it dug with its paws; it waved its tail side to side as it stuck its snout down a hole — part puppylike, much bigger part: predator. The coyote pounced again, pressing its forepaws to the ground, and then threw its head back.
When it turned back my way, I saw that it was gnawing on a burrowing rodent, which a scientist later told me was a species of vole. For a photographer who spent months documenting the lives of prairie dogs (another burrowing rodent), I delighted in this visit to other side of the grass.
The red-shouldered hawk flew up Grizzly Park, over my car, then alighted atop a pole across the street (Grizzly Peak) from the parking of the Tilden Steam Trains. I shot these photographs from inside the railing of the parking lot, which, with the surrounding vegetation, served as a natural bird blind.
I could have stepped closer to the hawk, into the shoulder of the road, but I avoid making animals react. And, in my experience, hawks seem especially camera shy. (I imagine that they like to be the ones looking down upon us, not vice versa.) The bird took flight once again, a photographer’s dream if she can catch the shot.
Elaine Miller Bond is the photographer for the upcoming book: “The Utah Prairie Dog” by Theodore Manno and John L. Hoogland (University of Utah Press, for 2013), and author of “Dream Affimals (Affirmations + Animals): Inspiration to Fulfill Your Wildest Dreams” (Sunstone Press, targeted for later this year).
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