Moose, Photo Trap & the Bobcat
So I’m home for a few days, finally. I’ve only been home up till now since the 1st of the year, 8 days. I’ve got this really, really cool tool here, The Photo Trap that I want to use on a project I’m doing with our No Flying Squirrels. Well, to use the Photo Trap, I need to have flying squirrels. While I was gone, Sharon would check on them at night and most nights when she looked, they were there. All was good.
Three weeks ago I was heading out to the airport, heading to Grand Canyon. It was my normal departure time for the airport, 01:00. I was just going up the onramp to the highway and crossing in front of me was a adult Bobcat! I stopped and watched because in my 50yrs in Mammoth, I have never seen a Bobcat. Bears, Mtn Lions, Coyotes, you bet. Bobcat, never! So I watched, texted Sharon and then headed up the highway once it passed. While I was gone, Sharon was talking to our neighbor, a second home owner who told them they saw a Bobcat one night staring in their window at them. Sharon found it hard to believe, figured it was somebodies lost house cat. Well, since I’ve gotten back home from the Grand Canyon, the last few nights, we’ve had no squirrels. I had the Photo Trap, D4, SB-900s and other goodies ready to go, but no subjects. Time is running out, about to be on the road again for three weeks.
So I’m taking the dogs out a 23:00 for their last trip of the day. As always, I do a 360 with my maglite to check the trees for owls and the like. I come over to our tree that has all the flying squirrels to see if any appeared and what do I see perched on the branch, a Bobcat! It’s just lying there, watching the dogs and me and not doing a thing! I go to the door and yell in the house to Sharon there’s a Bobcat in tree 3!. I hurry the dogs up, get them in the house and up the stairs I go. And there the Bobcat laid, watching us watch it. It’s a juvenile, pretty small and really cute.Sharon says, “Can’t you get a picture of it?” It’s 23:00, it’s just nine feet from the door. I said I don’t think so. But I still grabbed the D4, 70-200 & SB-900 and while knowing it was a no win situation, made the click. You see the results above. We then continued to watch it for quite a while. I finally slowly open the door trying to get a shot. I take a step forward and it slowly turned and climbed the tree. That was it. The next morning in the fresh snow I went looking for tracks. On the other side of the property I found its tracks. I also found the tracks of what appears to be a bunny family, most likely the reason for it being on our property.
Last night, we were looking every five minutes to see if it returned. Just before 23:00, fresh tracks appeared going right under our deck door and heading to the tree. We never saw it last night, haven’t got a photo of it but we have the vision of that Bobcat nine feet away, looking at us looking at it forever exposed on the thin emulsion of our minds. It was a good night!