Bobcats – December 28, 2009

The morning started by spotting the young male walking along the main path.  The California Towhees seemed to be playing ‘Chicken’ by seeing how close they would let the bobcat get before flying away.  He was quite a distance away and walked towards us.  After pausing to look behind, he finally walked off the path and disappeared into the brush.  By the time we caught sight of him again he had already caught breakfast.

After leaving him to eat and wandering around a bit, we walked over an adjacent hillside and I spotted him lying in the grass a few feet away.  Once he realized his cover was blown, he sauntered down the hillside away from us.  Funny thing, the bobcats are quite lazy and prefer to walk on the paths instead of through the grass, especially when it is wet.  He did just that and we ended up walking far behind him for quite awhile before he finally bounded into the brush.

We felt somewhat guilty following him so much so we went on ahead and tried to get a view from the top of the main path looking down the back of the dam.  The silly cat had crossed the field and was sitting in front of a bush a few feet below us!  We watched him stalk an unseen and un-captured animal and then walked away in the hopes he would cross the main path and hunt in a more open field on the other side.  Sure enough, he soon crossed the path and headed into the field.  Once he got there he started softly meowing, obviously calling to his mother.  We quickly left him alone, since she is hesitant to come out when people are around.

We walked back down the main path towards home but then decided we should head back and see if either of the two female bobcats had come out.  We walked all the way back to the main field but didn’t see anything.  On our walk back home we noticed some wet footprints on the path that weren’t there a few minutes ago.  Since no dogs had walked by, they must have been from one of the bobcats.  We looked around the next corner and the young female kitten was sitting in the middle of the trail!  We watched her from a distance until she finally crossed through a small wooded area and leapt down onto the next path.  She slowly walked away from us before spotting something along the edge of the path.  After crouching down low to the ground, she launched herself off the edge and disappeared down a steep slope.  We walked over and briefly stopped to see if she was at the bottom of the hillside.  Instead of being at the bottom,  she was hunting something three feet in front of us with only her head poking up through the grass!  I took a couple close-ups and then we backed away to let her hunt.

In the evening we searched for the bobcats again but the park was very busy and heard that one of the young bobcats was briefly seen but quickly went back into hiding.  After deciding to head home early, we ran into the adult male just before walking out of the park.  He was unusually relaxed and let us spend several minutes photographing and admiring him.  It was a great day!

“Young Male Bobcat Scaring a Towhee”  –  Goleta, CA

“Young Male Bobcat after a Satisfying Breakfast”

“Hiding in Plain Sight”

“Young Male Searching for Mom”

“Young Female Bobcat Surveying the Grass”

“Bounding Bobcat”

“Close-up Portrait”

“Adult Male Bobcat Yawning”

“Staring Contest”

“Time to Go”

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