Testing the Waters

As I continue to monitor the wildlife diversity at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus for the 3 Rivers Foundation, I’m often surprised by the interactions and behaviors of wildlife captured on the trail cameras. This is more evident during the Beaver Pond restoration.

In March 2015, when I began monitoring the campus with the camera traps, I hiked back towards the north end of the Beaver Pond to see how much water was in the pond. To my amazement, a coyote (Canis latrans) was sitting in the water on the rather warm March day. The coyote almost looked like it was sunbathing as it held its head high with its entire back end sitting in the water. It sniffed the air a couple of times and then spotted me and quietly ran off. No – I did not get a photo, but I thought it odd for a coyote sitting in the water. Yes – after that moment, I always carry my camera when exploring the campus.

When I checked the cameras in November 2017, I came across two different species this time checking out the water in late October 2017. One was a coyote and the other was a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). I have no clue what it is about this particular spot at the Beaver Pond they liked so well. This was also the same spot a turkey vulture was captured bathing in September 2017.

Of course, the raccoons (Procyon lotor) were captured on many different nights wading and swimming in the same spot at the Beaver Pond. It’s remarkable catching their antics on camera.

Interesting findings continue to come out of this extended monitoring, especially on the birds.  It seems certain species love testing the waters.


Red-tailed Hawk