Sunday afternoon was hot, as has been every afternoon for the past month or so but I really wanted to hike, heat or not. So, I went to Inks Lake to hike and hoped that eventually there would be a nice sunset. I started on a trail that offered some shade and eventually came upon a bunch of butterflies in a shady area, so I stopped for a few photographs. I tried to wait around until one happened to land in a ray of sunlight, but they didn’t seem to want to be in the sunlight any more than I did, so I settle for some shady pictures.
As the butterflies perched they would periodically open their wings so I had to time my shots to get a good display. I would work one end of the area and the butterflies would eventually flutter down to the other end and then I’d go down there until they fluttered back. I guess I made them a bit nervous.
While focused on the butterflies, a small coyote came walking up the trail behind me. I caught the motion in my peripheral vision and turned just in time to see it as it headed into the bushes. I managed to get one shot in before he disappeared from view, though it is a little blurry. I later heard him or his friend yipping (or whatever you call their sound) in the bushes, but they weren’t interested in showing themselves to me. It was a rather small coyote, so I figure it was probably young.
That is the second time I have seen a coyote out hiking. I typically expect them to be more active at night as that is when I hear them carrying on, but I guess they sometimes wander about during the day. Our former Governor, Rick Perry, was famous for shooting a ‘dangerous’ coyote with a pistol while out for a jog. In my experience, coyotes aren’t very interested in people so I kind of wonder if that was more publicity stunt than anything else. They have good noses and I am sure that they know I am there, but they never take any interest in me.
Among the many other critters I saw along the trails, there was a heron out on some rocks in the middle of the lake that was an easy photographic target. I tried to get farther down the bank to get a better angle with the sun, but it flew away before I could get there. But I got the photo below with it standing on those hot rocks in the sun.
A little later I heard the thumping of a woodpecker and patiently waited for her to get around to a place where I could shoot a photo. The woodpecker was not bothered by me at all and kept pecking around the tree branches while I shot a few photos. I believe this is called a Ladderback Woodpecker and I see them quite often.
It got later, the temperature cooled down in to the mid 90s Fahrenheit, and I returned to some rocks on the east side of the lake. I didn’t get enough clouds in the sky to get the sunset I wanted, but I took this long exposure looking west across this branch of the lake. It was too breezy to get the water nice and smooth, but I think it sets a mood: very warm evening, a gentle breeze, a mostly quiet lake, birds flying about finding their evening roosts. I cropped it panoramic, but you can imagine vast, featureless, fading blue sky above the frame if you like.
After I took this picture, I watched a critter swimming across the lake, but I didn’t have my long lens on so I didn’t try to get a photo. I think that it was probably a nutria rat anyway and not a cute little otter so I don’t think that I really wanted a photo.
Even with the heat, I enjoyed my hike at the lake. And because so few people are hiking in the heat, I think I got to see a lot of wildlife that ordinarily would be hiding from all of the humans. Thanks for reading.