D500 Takes in a Coyote Bug Feast and Double Rainbow

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Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 6,996
D500 Takes in a Coyote Bug Feast and Double Rainbow

A pair of coyotes search for a breakfast of crickets in the Lower Lake Mary meadow. (Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E at 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 2000

This is a behavior I've not seen prior to the last 4-6 weeks. I first saw it in mid-to-late June. A coyote was out in Lower Lake Mary in the middle of the day - broad daylight - which in itself is pretty unusual. They prefer hunting under the cover of darkness. On this day, the coyote was obviously looking for something in the field. What that something was, I didn't know at the time.

However as the summer progressed and I had the opportunity to observe this behavior on other occasions, it became clear to me the coyotes were chasing down and munching on crickets. It's not unlike the documented behavior of Yellowstone grizzly bears spending time in the mountains at high elevations rooting out moth nests in scree fields.

Insects tend to be high fat-content critters. They're easy to catch, don't pose a threat to predators, and that high-fat content allows an animal to consume enough calories to not just survive but thrive. This is what the Lower Lake Mary coyotes are dining on this summer. These insects have become a staple of their diet.

On this morning, I had started the walk across the lakebed to take up my usual position at the base of a pine tree along the edge of the forest when, no more than 10-meters into my walk, I saw a coyote prowling the field just ahead of me. I dropped my canvas photographer's hide on the ground as a seating pad, slowly laid my tripod on the ground, took a seat, removed my camera pack, and took my time setting up.

Normally, coyotes wouldn't have tolerated me being so close. I suppose that given the choice between putting up with a curious human and trotting off to another part of the meadow, the coyote chose to stay where the eatin' was good...and ignore the human.

After about 15 minutes, the sky had brightened enough for me to see that two coyotes were enjoying an early breakfast of cricket. It makes sense that they would start the day with a cricket feast as the cooler weather of early morning means the insects won't be quite as active and elusive as later in the day when temperatures are warmer.

It started to rain about 15 minutes into my session with the coyotes. It wasn't heavy. The animals certainly weren't bothered by it so, I just kept shooting. When the rain stopped about 15 minutes later, I noticed a brilliant double rainbow adorning the sky over the lakebed. I couldn't pass this up so, off came the 200-500, and on went the 24-70mm. Here's a 7-frame pano of the rainbow.

Seven-frame panoramic stitch made with Nikon D500 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 at 24mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

 Bill Ferris's gear list:Bill Ferris's gear list
Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon D500 Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD
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