Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Hello, Birders,

On December 10th, while birding in San Benito County, I had a wonderful encounter with a bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Fremont Peak State Park. It was a dark, dreary, foggy noontime when I entered the park picnic areas. Immediately, I noticed an animal running up the hillside. Stopping the car, I was able to shoot about 35 frames, as the bobcat scampered up the hillside. In order not to scare the bobcat, I used my car as a blind, and did not get out of it. Below, is one of my first shots. You can see that it was headed for this fallen tree.
Although bobcats are mostly nocturnal, I have had many encounters during the day. Since there is no trophy hunting of bobcats in the State of California, they are often very tame. I've even had the experience of having one walk very closely to me, while I was standing in a road, birding.
The image, below shows the very short, "bob" tail, which is only black on the very tip. This is a field mark for the bobcat. Tails average about five inches long. I love the way it curls!
Here, the bobcat walks up the hillside. Notice that the underside of the paws are black. Bobcats are mostly solitary, as this one was. They do den in hollow logs. So, I am wondering if this animal could use this area for a den.
Bobcats average 25-30 inches long and weigh 15-35 lbs.
This image shows the black markings on the ears.
It is almost possible to detect the short ear tufts in the image below when the bobcat turned around to look my direction.
Finally, it slowly walked off uphill, into the grass. It blends in so easily!
It is always a pleasure to encounter wildlife, and San Benito County is great for this!

Happy trails,
Debi Shearwater

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