Monday, November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009- Wolf/Coyote

The September-like weather pattern is holding strong as temps were in the lower 50's again with sunny skies and a light to moderate wind out of the West.

Waterfowl: Extremely quiet- the only species in which more than 5 individuals were seen were Red-breasted Merganser and Red-necked Grebe. Two Red-throated Loons were the most exciting waterfowl of the day.

Gulls: A very interesting small gull was seen during the first hour but it was too far for a positive ID. The Glaucous Gull now spends more time at the shack than the Ring-billeds do.

Other: An incredible sighting this morning was a GRAY WOLF (see photos) that casually trotted towards us and got fairly close before seeing us and bolting back to the cover of the trees. To my knowledge, a wolf has never been seen at Whitefish Point although they are obviously present in the surrounding area. Some other highlights that paled in comparison were an adult Northern Goshawk and a few Red Crossbills and Redpolls.

Photo by Don Jennette

UPDATE: Because of a little uncertainty Chris and I had about the wolf I have passed along the photos to several "experts" in mammal ID. I have received mixed answers about the animal's ID but some feel that this may be a Coyote. This is mainly because my picture shows a rather narrow and pointy snout/muzzle and long pointy ears and Don's photo shows an overbite. These traits are all suggestive of Coyote. If it is a Coyote, it is much more fully coated than normal and is abnormally pigmented. It lacks the reddish tones on the upper legs, chest, and face, which most but not all Coyotes show.

I will update the blog further with any more word on the ID of this canine.

Tom Prestby
Waterbird Counter


Anonymous said...

Wow!! Where was the wolf the day before when we were there??? Jack and Bev Kirby

Cory J. Gregory said...

Crazy jealous! Nice shots. Might this be an Eastern Timber Wolf though based on range? Of course, there is some debate on true speciation between the two. Again, way jealous....

WPBO said...

Hey Cory, I have always been curious about this and I believe that "Gray Wolf" and "Timber Wolf" are interchangeable. I have seen midwestern wolves referred to as either/or throughout their midwestern range. -Tom

dark and light said...

Wait a minute....that's a coyote. Ha ha ha... Just kiddin' Tom. Talk about formidable:)

Michigan Audubon Bird Tours said...

dare I say........ hybrid???