Of Birthdays and Bobcats

February 22, 2010

Two of the local bobcats were kind enough to make a rare appearance on my birthday last week.  We were thrilled to find the young female and upon review of my images, it was clear that she was spending most of her time marking her territory.  I’m wondering how her mother feels about her daughter laying claim to the same area.  Based on published research, this is very early for a female to be marking like this.  I think this young one has grand aspirations.

Later, we saw both young bobcats together.  The young female disappeared but her brother calmly laid beneath some brush before coming out to watch us.  Once he got bored with that, he spent some time grooming, gave himself a good scratch and walked away.  All in all, it was a great day!

“Young Female Bobcat”

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Spring

February 21, 2010

Officially, Spring is exactly one month away.  However, we’ve had springlike conditions here in Santa Barbara for the past few months.  An early October storm helped get things going early and all the recent rains have kicked things into high gear.  Spring must feel far away for those dealing with all the snow back east.  Enjoy the winter weather while you can, because Spring is just around the corner.

~ Click on the images to view them larger.

“Busy Bee”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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Bobcat on the Hunt – Feb 10, 2010

February 12, 2010

Looks like the Vancouver Olympics camera crews are having some bobcat sightings too.  (It’s definitely not a Lynx, as was initially reported.)  I can’t let them have all the fun, so here are some images from our Wednesday evening encounter.  Most of the bobcats have been very difficult to find lately, so it was very rewarding to find and watch him for an extended period of time.  He was actively hunting when we first saw him and he quickly caught a large rat, which he proceeded to kill and then play with for many minutes.  He seemed to really be enjoying himself and would bat the carcass high into the air and go chasing after it.  Unfortunately he was hiding behind a line of brush so we would only occasionally see the rat go flying through the air, followed shortly thereafter by an airborne bobcat.

There were quite a few people walking up and down the path adjacent to his hunting field and we were surprised that he repeatedly crossed this path right in front of some dog-walkers and us.  He would run by so quickly that most of the people didn’t even know he had crossed.  I was happy to see some Flickr friends at the park just as we found the bobcat again.  He spent quite a bit of time hunting a field right in front of us and caught at least one more rat.  This was a wonderful change from the very short sightings we have been having recently.

“Friendly Feline”  –  Goleta, CA

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Santa Barbara Winter

February 8, 2010

This is really the best time of year here in Santa Barbara.  Everything is green, the flowers are blooming and there are plenty of dramatic skies.  It’s nature at its finest.  The following images have been taken over the past couple of weeks.  The first large storm system brought a dusting of snow to the local mountains and the low clouds produced an incredible light show at sunset.  Following the storm, we were treated to day after day of incredible sunsets and crisp, clean air.  A warmer storm system hit late last week so we didn’t get the mountain snow, but there were lots of dissipating clouds swirling around the mountain peaks.  The interior mountains have been getting lots of snow and I hope to get out there in the coming weeks, if the roads reopen.

I think I forget to mention the incredible morning rainbow.  All I can say is,  Wow!

“Sun, Snow & Sky”  –  LLC, Goleta, CA

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The White-tailed Kites Pair

February 4, 2010

The local pair of White-tailed Kites have been busy making preparations for their next batch of chicks.  The male has been patching up the old nest and bringing food to his mate.  Well, he doesn’t always bring it to her.  Sometimes she needs to take matters in her own “talons” and steal it from him.  There have been some other unmistakeable signs that egg laying should happen some time soon.

“White-tailed Kites”  –  LLC, Goleta, CA

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