Friday, November 30, 2012

Galiuro Mountains: Coatimundi

Today, a break from my "5" star series to share yesterday's trip to the Galiuro Mountains of Southern Arizona. The Galiuros are about 50 miles from us as the crow flies. (Well, we don't have crows in Southern Arizona, so as the Ravens fly). However to drive there it's about 90 miles and two hours time. Ten years ago when we first moved to Arizona I went there looking for Coatimundis (white-nosed coati). I would go four or five times a year seeing one or more almost every time. But, by 2006, they had all but disappeared. I might see one once a year. 

Yesterday, I didn't have to make breakfast so left early to try again. After three and a half hours of looking I spotted one on the ground through the trees. I immediately started taking photos, but after a quick look at me, he ran off. And, as he ran off coatis started running down the surrounding trees and off behind him. I would guess somewhere between 15 and 20 coatis in all. All this took place in no more than 20 seconds.

As I have explained he previous posts, the Wildlife Photographer has to be lucky. First, you have to find what you want to photograph, and second, it has to be willing to be photographed. Shooting through trees creates several problems: 1) it's dark so the lighting isn't very good; 2) trees and branches are in the way so you can't get clear photos of an entire animal; and 3) those trees, branches, leaves make it difficult to focus on the animal -- especially if the animal starts moving. 

As I was driving home, I was thinking that I probably did not have a single decent photo. However, that was not the case. The first photo I took was actually fairly good. So, here it is, the White-Nosed Coati.

P.S. Check out the length of his tail.  (click to enlarge)


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