Saturday, June 25, 2011

BOBCAT WITH KITTEN: Heart-Stopping Times

Howdy, Birders,
Back to that incredible day, May 19th, with two bobcats, Lynx rufus, on Lone Tree Road, San Benito County, California — I hope the images below will tell some of the story better than I can in words. It was a heart-stopping hour, watching this adult female bobcat with a young, male kitten.
Bobcats are not uncommon in San Benito County, as I have encountered them several times, just this year. Because trophy hunting for this species is not permitted in the state of California, bobcats tend to be very tame, and even curious at times, walking straight toward the observer. This was my experience. Hunched low to the ground, I made some squeaking noises as I often do to attract birds. In this case, the young kitten walked in a straight line toward me. Although I was shooting my camera through a barbed wire fence, I was able to get some decent images. All images below, copyright, Debi Shearwater. Please ask permission for usage.

One of two bobcats, Lynx rufus, 19 May 2011.
Bobcats are small cats, 20 to 24 inches long, that range from southern Canada to Mexico.
The sharp-pointed ears are tipped with dark, inconspicuous tufts.
Although mostly nocturnal, I have seen many bobcats during the mid-day.
Bobcats are found in a variety of habitats, from chaparral to swamps. Above, we see the adult with her kitten on a well-worn trail
The curious kitten approaches me on the trail.
The tail is black above and white below. The white underside of the tail serves as a signal for kittens to follow when the bobcat holds the tail curved up, when hunting for food.
Bobcats den in hollow logs and thick brush. I once saw one in a hollow log.
Twelve subspecies of bobcat are recognized. In our area, the subspecies is L. rufus californicus (Mearns). The southernmost Mexican subspecies has been classified as endangered since 1976.
Incredibly curious kitten.
Keeping up with mother.
Litters usually contain two kittens, but only one male, in this case. The kitten is in the foreground, above, while the mother watches in the background.
Like any other kitten, this one was extremely playful.
The kitten in an oak tree.
From a distance, they blend in well with the surroundings.
The kitten chased its mother, running around the grasslands, and up in trees, making little sounds.
Mother and her son. Bobcats live about 10-12 years in the wild.
Hey, this is not a safari ride! The kitten pouncing on his mother's back. And, off they went. About 2 hours later, as I was driving down the from the top of the road, I saw both of them on the opposite side of the road. The kitten was still chasing his mother.

Happy trails,
Debi Shearwater
San Benito County Birding

1 comment:

Marco said...

Lovely, fantastic coverage with great detail in the text. Thanks.