Bobcats – January 10, 2010

Note to self:  Bring a spare memory card!

You can probably imagine the frustration of photographing an unexpected scene, only to find yourself without enough memory.  Well, that happened to me on Sunday.  I had gotten complacent about bringing an extra memory card on our walks to the lake.  The lack of long encounters with the bobcats, and my resolution to pursue quality over quantity, made it seem like bringing an extra memory card superfluous.  As a result, I was frantically trying to delete images while I should have been taking pictures.

Surprisingly, the mother bobcat is still with her young.  All that I’ve read indicates it is rather rare for them to still be interacting with her at their age.  The mother should be going into estrus soon and the adult male has been around a lot and has been busy marking seemingly everything in sight.  However, we may have witnessed the beginnings of the separation between the mother and her young.  Already, the young female spends far more time on her own, but her brother seems slower to mature and he seems to actively seek out the other bobcats.

On Sunday, the mother and her son were lounging apart in a semi-open field enjoying the afternoon sun.  They would actually go back into hiding whenever the sun disappeared behind a large cloud.  The first time we saw the young male approach his mother, she smacked him in the face.  Not very hard, but it certainly wasn’t very welcoming.  He persisted and she relented.  Soon he was snoozing while laying his head on her.  He soon started to annoy her again by putting one of his paws on the back of her head.  After putting up with this for a few minutes, she turned and tried biting his ear.

Lucky for her, he is easily distracted and he went off to hunt.  She relaxed by herself for a few minutes, before heading off to hunt for herself.  She found a likely target and spent many minutes getting into position and sat there motionless, waiting for the perfect time to pounce.  Just as she started quivering in anticipation, the young male walked up to ‘help’ and scared dinner away.  No wonder she isn’t thrilled to have him around!

“Mother and Son”  –  Goleta, CA

“A Cool Reception”


“Annoying his Mother”


“Young Male Bobcat”

“Adult Female Bobcat”


3 Responses to Bobcats – January 10, 2010

  1. Trish says:

    Wonderful images and love the behavior story!

  2. wildphotography says:

    Thanks, Trish!

  3. Sandy Harris says:

    It was a real joy to see these photos and read your story. Thank you for sharing.

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