Grabbed my car binoculars to confirm. Coy-wolf, brush wolf, eastern coyote, hybrid canid. Take your pick. Big male. Catching and eating small things. Jackpot!
I happened to have my Canon 7D with me because going anywhere in May without it is just stupid.
There is so much to see and photograph in May. Every time the animal dropped his head, I ran closer.
Looking at these shots, I'm pretty confident he was picking off freshly-emerged periodical cicadas as they clung to the grass blades. Brood V is coming out of the ground in Ohio after its 17-year sleep!! if the rain and cold ever subside. The first few have started coming out. Bracing myself. It's gonna be huge.
And thus I kicked off my personal Brood V Project: to photograph as many creatures as possible, exploiting the abundant food these cicadas provide. So far, coy-wolf is the first, and a new one for me. Cardinal: #2. The way my biology professor friend Dave McShaffrey puts it, "This is like Halley's Comet coming around for astronomers. Brood V is an entomologist's Halley's Comet." Exactly. I don't pretend to be an entomologist, but I had a blast documenting species eating cicadas in the summer of 1999, when I didn't even have a proper camera. This time: look out.
Finally I got close enough to the preoccupied coy-wolf to get his attention. I'm sure he smelled me before he saw me. He suddenly picked his head up. Imagine being able to smell a reasonably fresh human down the length of a football field.
He raised his head higher when he saw me.
There was that moment when he said, "Oh, crap. Now what?"
He looked away in annoyance and confusion. How could I have let that woman creep up so close to me? What an idiot I am. Having so much fun eating these delicious big bugs I completely overlooked the fact that there's a house up there. And primates pop out of it during the daytime. Duh, Wile E.
Gonna mosey on.
His ears, set backward in disappointment.
With a last stink-eye at me, he simply melted into the unmown half of the meadow.
Easily offended? I pray of you, don't click. And if you do, and get all huffy, scolding me is not your best choice. Like coy-wolves, like evolution, explicit material is going down all around us.