Two coyotes together at station near Bennett Pass. It is a little early for the breeding season - coyotes in the Cascades breed in late winter - so this pair may be siblings.
Probably one of the pair, seen earlier.
It has been an interesting winter with the warmer mountain temperatures, torrential rain, and dearth of snow accompanied by bobcat, coyote, and mountain lion at most of our Oregon stations. We haven't seen such wild cat presence in Washington. This winter we have focused our station locations at various sites adjacent to but not on Mt Hood as we conducted extensive surveys this summer on the mountain itself. We have not detected mountain foxes at any of this season's sites yet, which is surprising as the survey stations encompass a lower elevation area than our sites on the mountain that yielded fox detections but still within the range of where we expect to find some foxes. I imagine that mountain precipitation patterns have a significant impact on fox behaviour as foxes rely on access to the small mammals under the snow a major prey source. Rain fall on snow followed by a freeze-up prevent access for foxes to the subnivean zone where the small mammals live. But its hard to know precisely how these changes manifest themselves. There is much to learn about these rare mountain foxes.
Seeing as we are gearing up to set cameras targeting winter wildlife, I thought I would post a photo from late last winter (March 2014) as a reminder of the snow and winter fun to come. I know, I know, its gorgeous fall weather right now. But its exciting to have cooler weather and a change of seasons.