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Mar 29 / Bryan

Galewood Safari

After some coyote sightings reported on Galewood Moms in Action and a new hawk sighting on Galewood Neighborhood at Facebook last week, set out to track down both creatures over the weekend.

We’d actually spotted the hawk last fall near the Cobra radar detector factory, we noticed a snow of feathers falling from a streetlamp at twilight, looking up we saw a large bird (could it have been a peregrine falcon?) tearing apart a pigeon. The light was low and I only had an 85mm lens but I managed to snap one Loch-Ness-monster-quality photo just as it flew off with its prey (above). Most of Galewood’s hawk/falcon sightings seem to be around the same area, near Cortland and Narragansett, perhaps it has a nest in the industrial area to the northeast. In any case, a week of scanning the skies has been fruitless.

The coyote was nearly as elusive. Several sightings were reported over the last two weeks between Rutherford/Sayre park and the CVS parking lot at Bloomingdale and Harlem. A neighbor actually saw two coyotes near the park’s railroad viaduct one afternoon, and saw one crossing Newland early one morning while walking his dog. I had high hopes about an encounter until I did a little research and learned they’re typically nocturnal (not great for photos) and very skittish around humans. Plans to cover myself in fox urine, set out a dead deer in the park, and camp out overnight with a telephoto lens were, sadly, scuttled. Several expeditions to the park with small children and/or a borrowed German shepherd as bait were also unproductive, though one evening, we did see a shadowy mass moving along the railroad tracks. Further examination (including fifteen minutes creeping up to what turned out to be a rotten log) was inconclusive, and as a sudden fog and eerie silence surrounded me, I started thinking about Voldemort drinking Unicorn blood, so I hightailed it home.

But it wasn’t a total loss, the sun and clear skies this weekend brought out the more typical local wildlife, and the park was full of squirrels and robins. They’re not quite as exciting to photograph as a hawk or a coyote, but they’re a lot easier.

If you’re concerned about the coyotes, The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project is a great source for more information. This NPR report profiled the organization in 2010.

One Comment

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  1. Molly / Mar 29 2011

    This is a great post, Bryan. Love the photography!

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