The Intruder

by Jane Ahrens
8/24/18 1:53am HHC watermelon patch

October 2018
Since the story below was posted, we have received several comments about coyote sightings. This, in particular, is interesting from Dave Denison:

October 2, 2018: “I liked the story “The Intruder” in the latest Foghorn. I didn’t know if you heard but a coyote had been stealing and eating the watermelons I was growing on the Hay Harbor golf course – I had 4 different gardens and he found all 4.  He probably ate 30 watermelons over the summer. Now I know how he got here!”

October 5, 2018: “I think the coyote might live in the Navy property since I have seen tracks on the beach along the second fairway. Maybe he just likes to walk the beach. I have attached a photo of him and two short videos, taken with a nighttime infrared camera lent to me by Terry McNamara. One showing him eating a melon and one showing him picking up a butternut squash and, disappointed that it didn’t seem to be good to eat, putting it back down again.”

Thank you to Dave for sending these images to

The following story was written by Peter Hansel, a friend and houseguest of Kit and Marnie Briggs, about an observation he made off of North Hill in the early morning hours of August 26. Peter is an avid sailor and has sailed around Fishers in past years.

By Peter Hansel
August 2018

It was a beautiful pre-dawn Sunday morning, August 26, when I had pulled the kayak into the water near Flounder In on the north side of Fishers Island. I could see South Dumpling about a half a mile to the north with North Dumpling beyond that. I was hoping to find some stripers or bluefish as I trolled or casted near the point. The sun peaked over the horizon about 6:00 and the tide was running to the west at a pretty good clip. The paddling was easy and it was hard to keep my mind focused on fishing with such beauty all around.

On one of my passes of the point and just before turning to head back east, I noticed something in the water ahead. It was moving so I knew it wasn’t a lobster pot. A seal possibly? Not really moving like a seal so I decided to paddle closer for a better look. Soon I could make out a couple of ears so that pretty much ruled out a seal. Oops, got a hit! No, no, it’s just seaweed. Reel in, clear the line, back in pursuit. The animal seemed to be making for a small cove on the west side of the point although the flooding tide had obviously pulled it well to the west. As it approached shore, a flock of Canada geese on the beach scurried into the water and began raising a racket. Curiously, they didn’t swim away but were determined to maintain eye contact with this intruder who perhaps saw this welcoming committee as a good omen. Finally it got close enough to touch bottom. Its shoulders, then its haunches and finally its full body came ashore. A brief pause, then a shake to expel the cold salt water ending with its long fluffy tail. The handsome coyote took a few breaths to survey its new domain, unconcerned about the fisherman in the kayak, and then loped into the nearest brush. Gone like a shadow as a cloud passes over the sun.

As I turned to renew my course, I wondered where he had come from. South Dumpling was the nearest point but how much had he been set by the tide? Maybe he embarked from some place farther east or maybe he had a better internal compass that I gave him credit for. I also wondered what would have happened if he had misjudged and been carried beyond this point. He could have easily been swept into the Race, far far from the next point of land.

We had an occasion to walk back to that beach in the cove later that morning and my wife pointed out to Marnie and myself the coyote tracks in the sand. No shadow, no illusion, it was real.

How to Identify Coyote Tracks | Wildlife Land Trust 
The front paw prints are about 2 1/4” to 2 3/4” long, and about 1 3/4” to 2 3/8” wide. The footpads are smaller in the back prints. Check for claw marks. Coyote tracks have claws, but they don’t show if the ground is too hard.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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