The refuge was quiet. The stillness only broken by the distant drumming of woodpeckers and the occasional roar of a departing jet. Today was a day that belonged to the hunters.
On my way across the Dike Trail, in the distance I spied a coyote. He was diligently checking the muskrat lodges and scanning the reeds looking for his next meal as he strode across the frozen impoundment. Maybe his fur was puffed up to help keep him warm against the cold, but then again maybe he has been eating well this winter.
Having completed our lap of the lower impoundment we returned via the railroad bed to the warming shack (the restrooms). We were thankful that the heat is left on the ensure the pipes don't freeze. Even at their lower than normal temperature, the bit of trapped warmth, provided a pleasant respite.
Warmed and standing outside the building, we were entertained as our last hunter stepped on stage. A large Cooper's Hawk flew alongside the building and settled on a branch over the trail to the parking lot. It didn't seem to mind us much, but was constantly scanning looking for its next meal.
After watching it close up from the rear, I wondered if it would sit still long enough to allow me to circle around to the parking lot side and take some photos from the front. It did, all the while scanning the surroundings. I had just got into position to take a few photos from the front, when a noise caught its attention from up the railroad bed; in a flash it was gone.
Shortly there after, so were we.