Four Bobcats in One Day!

October 31, 2009

I’ve been wondering when or if we would be lucky enough to see all four bobcats in one day.  I figured this would require spending all day at the park or making numerous trips per day.  I never would have expected that we would see all of them within half an hour.  On Tuesday we stumbled upon the mother and her young right at the beginning of our walk.  They were incredibly cooperative and spent a lot of time moving around us.  Watching them interact is fascinating and makes one wonder how they communicate with each other.  Somehow the young seem to know when it is safe to explore and when their mother is ready to move on.  Having watched them closely, it is not as simple as the young simply following their mother.  Quite often the young seem to initiate the move to a new location and when they were younger the mother would hunt alone, leaving them near their den.

After watching the mother and her young for quite awhile, we watched them cross the path in front of us and disappear into the brush. Prior to our next bobcat sighting we came upon several birds attempting to scare away a snake.  A California Kingsnake was lying below a patch of fennel and was being mobbed by Towhees and Sparrows.  Their efforts did not seem very effective and in fact seemed to put them in quite a bit of danger.   At this point we were at the opposite end of the lake from the rest of the bobcat family.  I glanced down to where we found the male bobcat on Sunday and shockingly he was standing right there!  I managed to only get a few shots while he traversed the brush below us before he disappeared.  He does not seem to be as casual as the other bobcats and is always either hunting or marking territory.

“Bobcat Family”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, Ca

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Dragonfly – Anax junius

October 27, 2009

Dragonflies are really amazing creatures, but I might be a bit biased, having worked with them in a research lab at Penn State while in college.  (Believe it or not, dragonflies can help us understand aspects of heart disease.)  Back then I didn’t even think of attempting to photograph one in flight.  They are very quick and rarely stay in one place for long.  Instead, I stuck to doing static macro photography.

My first attempts several years ago were marginal successes. However, most were photographed from above, with dark water as the background.  Unfortunately, I felt this made each image appear the same and they were artistically lacking.  This approach made focusing easier but didn’t get me the results I wanted.  My more recent dragonfly photos have improved because I try to photograph them in front of a background that complements their colors and I also get low and photograph them eye-to-eye.  Being at their same level changes the perspective dramatically, and for the better!

“Green Darner”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

Male Bobcat Seen this Morning

October 25, 2009

After hearing several reports and seeing photographic evidence that the adult male bobcat was around, we finally found him this morning!  It was a somewhat surreal encounter.  I was searching for the Virginia Rail along the edge of the lake at sunrise where there was very little cover along the shoreline.  All of a sudden all the ducks and coots flushed from the shoreline and we joked that the bobcat might be nearby.  We focused our search on the far shore on the opposite side of the peninsula.  Little did we know that he was hidden less than ten feet away from us the whole time!  When we turned back around we were startled to see the bobcat walking slowly a few feet away.  Once he realized we had seen him, he ran away.  We were able to leapfrog him and watch him reappear on the other side of the reeds and brush.  It was a very cool encounter and is amazing how well they can remain hidden.

“Adult Male Bobcat”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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Big Bird Backlog

October 25, 2009

I’ve been sitting on a ton of great bird photos that I just haven’t had the time to post.  Unfortunately I can’t post all of my favorites but here is a small selection from the last couple weeks.

~As always, you can click on the individual photos to view them larger~

“Great Blue Heron Chase”  –  Devereux Slough, Goleta, CA

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Lake Los Carneros Landscapes

October 25, 2009

In addition to some great wildlife sightings at the lake, there has been plenty of great light.  This makes deciding where to head with my camera easy.  With all the recent bobcat sightings it is great that I can photograph such a variety of other subjects and landscapes while out looking for the cats.  On Saturday morning I was particularly struck by the morning light highlighting the palms while the mist covered lake remained in shade.  Watching the mist blow across the lake as the sun rose was truly a mesmerizing scene.

“Paradise”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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Virginia Rail Video

October 25, 2009

Here’s a video of the Virginia Rail that was seen at Lake Los Carneros yesterday morning.

Bobcats from Today

October 24, 2009

Here are a few photos of the bobcats seen at Lake Los Carneros today.  I didn’t get any great shots of the mother, so these are all of the young male.  The cats were not in a cooperative mood today, probably because they had just been chased by a couple of unleashed dogs.  The careless owners didn’t seem very troubled by the trauma their dogs had inflicted on the local wildlife.  There was another surprise canine appearance while we watched the bobcats; a coyote dashed across the path and bounded down the hill towards the hidden cats, whereupon it vanished into the brush and wasn’t seen or heard again.  Strangely, the coyote’s presence didn’t seem to bother the two bobcats.

“Bobcat on the Move”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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