Yesterday I was mostly kept from shooting by a snowstorm. I watched the weather radar all day, hoping to get a flight or two in before the weather goes south of -5 C for a couple weeks and I don't want to take my baby out anymore. Fortunately there was a break in the weather, so I headed to a good spot with great LoS near my house. As I did a pre-flight walk around to gauge how busy the area was people-wise, I noticed three tiny shapes moving across the frozen reservoir about 800 m out.
From the way they moved, I could see it was a mammal, definitely not a bird. Probably a coyote. Cougars, black bear, grizzly, and wolves all live in the surrounding area, but wouldn't come so close to town and hang out all brazen in the open on a frozen reservoir.
The phantom had a bit of trouble flying out due to the wind, but at least the connection was holding fairly steady. It managed fine, but intermittent wind warnings popped up and the Phantom had some trouble maintaining position above ground level. As the aircraft was reaching the extent of my line of sight on the LED's, I came into view of the coyotes. I tried to remain a respectful distance away. I'm normally no friend of coyotes, but I didn't want to be the first guy to harass one with a drone. They seemed more interested than afraid. I also didn't want to test their jumping abilities.
I hung out watching them for a while until it started snowing a bit again. I wasn't sure how thick the ice was out there, and had an image of a snowflake hitting the flight control board and shorting something, causing a crash on the ice below. Then I'd be left with the choice of whether i want to attempt retrieval over uncertain ice.
So I headed back. Definitely a fun little mission.