Bison, Starlings, Magpies, Coyotes and a Mule Deer carcass

/, Antelope Island State Park, Birds, Black-billed Magpies, Coyotes, Davis County, European Starlings, Utah/Bison, Starlings, Magpies, Coyotes and a Mule Deer carcass

Coyote in a fresh snowCoyote in a fresh snow – Nikon D810, f5.6, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Yesterday was another interesting day on Antelope Island seeing snow-covered Bison, snowy weather, birds and spotting Coyotes at a Mule Deer carcass. The Coyote above was not any where near the carcass, it had been wandering the road near the visitors center when another coyote appeared and chased this one away.

Coyote moving towards the mule deer carcassCoyote moving towards the mule deer carcass – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The light wasn’t great again but that didn’t stop me from seeing two coyotes feeding on the mule deer carcass behind some phragmites.The ravens and magpies were also hanging around hoping to get their share of the fallen deer. At first both Coyotes moved away from the carcass when we stopped and started photographing them but it was only a few minutes later when this coyote slowly moved back towards the carcass.

Coyote at a Mule Deer carcassCoyote at a Mule Deer carcass – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I don’t know why the mule deer died and I don’t like to speculate but hopefully it wasn’t shot illegally by some unethical person and instead died of natural causes. What I do know is that the ravens, magpies and coyotes were having a winter feast. Those appear to be rib bones beneath the coyote’s neck and the ears just below the antlers that are sticking up.

Resting snow-covered Bison bullResting snow-covered Bison bull – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

After leaving the coyotes, birds and the mule deer carcass my next subjects were several Bison bulls resting and grazing on a small hill with the frozen Great Salt Lake in the background. Some had Black-billed Magpies on their backs.

Bison bull and starling in falling snowBison bull and starling in falling snow – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And some had European Starlings. I love getting snowy bison images but they can be a challenge to expose properly in low light conditions. I have a ton of bison images in my portfolio but I don’t think I can ever have enough.

Magpies and a CoyoteMagpies and a Coyote – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Back at the carcass there was a coyote nearby, I can’t be certain it was one of the same coyotes that I saw there earlier or if this is different coyote that moved in on the fallen deer. From this angle the backbone of the deer is clearly visible and that most of the meat is gone and that the antlers make for a handy perch for the magpies in the area.

Coyote and MagpiesCoyote and Magpies – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The magpies seemed to stay a distance away from the feeding coyotes but a few times it appeared to me that they dove at them. The coyotes seemed a bit nervous at the carcass and that behavior might have been because they were wary of other coyotes coming in on the carcass or perhaps the Golden Eagles I saw the day before had fed on the carcass as well and they could have tangled with the coyotes. I would have loved to have seen the eagles there too but that wasn’t in the cards.

I never know what I will see on Antelope Island but there is always something interesting going on. I had a great time photographing the Bison, Starlings, Magpies, Coyotes and a Mule Deer carcass.

Life is good.

Mia

 

8 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover December 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Wonderful collection and interesting commentary. I hope you’re not going out today Mia. That strong wind and the low temperatures makes it feel bitter cold.

  2. Elephant's Child December 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    What a privilege to see. For you, and thanks you you, for us. And here in the sweaty season I am really, really relishing those snowy images…

    • Elephant's Child December 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks TO you, not you, you. Please forgive my dyslexic fingers and morning brain.

  3. Nancy Collins December 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Fabulous Mia! What a treat to witness!

  4. Jolanta December 30, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Awesome pictures! Thank you 🙂

  5. mike kutsch December 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Outstanding shots, nature feeding nature, gotta love it

  6. Liz Cormack December 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

    You’ve been wanting snow….it looks like you finally got it. In spades.
    Great shots of the coyote. Thank you.

  7. John Randall December 30, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Excellent Images and observations Mia !

Comments are closed.