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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bobcat patrol

Yesterday evening, we hiked among the thunderhead clouds, which skirted our slice of he world but looked beautiful on the horizon.
In the cool of the evening, we practiced recalls. With all the wild animals who have been active near our house, recalls are a major key to safe walks.
This morning, K and I headed out, just the two of us, for a fun ride. Although she enjoys playing with her brother, she also loves solo bike rides when we're on our own.
We rode quietly, not crossing paths with another human, and listening to the calls of birds rising from the treetops. Our favorite, the hermit thrush, sang his mournful song from the pointy top of a Douglas Fir tree that towered over an aspen grove.

It was hot, at least for us wimpy mountain folks and dogs, so I gave K all the water that she wanted. I carry water in a camelbak and squirt it toward K's muzzle for her to drink. My photos show that she gets cross-eyed as she tracks the water into her mouth!
I think that it's time for our annual shift to an earlier start for our bike ride. While the "heat" (all 70 deg of it) doesn't bother me too much, it can be dangerous for a running dog.

I spotted one of my favorite flowers, the understated skullcap, a low and tiny flower that has just started blooming.
After I dropped off K at home, I explored the same area as yesterday but without any major revelations. All that I know is that some very fun trails negotiate tough terrain, and animal signs abound. On one little section of trail, I took a break for a snack, and I noticed how many of the aspen trees had "bear art" on them.
Some of the art was very recent, like these deep slashes in a live aspen tree left by a bear raking his claws across the tree.
Near the end of a quiet ride, I noticed a sun-soaked spot in the forest with a Serviceberry bush blooming with glorious white blossoms. Our bears will enjoy the berries later in the summer!
After arriving home, I checked two memory cards from wildlife cameras set up about a mile from each other. The first was at "Bobcat rock", a major scent post where bobcats frequently leave scent marks. The second was at the location where I've captured so many bear photos and videos recently. I suspect that this is the same bobcat as patrolled these two sites on May 27. On both May 27 and June 3, the time interval between visiting the two sites was about the same. Moreover, I can't find any tell-tale differences in the fur markings.

The main reason why I'm leaving a camera at Bobcat Rock is that I want to see if the bobcat ever brings young to site. I suspect that she's a female, and earlier this year, I thought that I saw tracks that indicated that she'd met a mate. My fingers are crossed for a photo of a mother cat and her kittens, but it will still be a while before that occurs if indeed she's a mother cat. Gestation is 60-70 days, and biologists say that the young don't start traveling extensively with their mother until they're around 3 months old. My cameras will patiently wait to see if we can get bobcat kitten photos.


  1. Wow very cool. Also so peaceful and beautiful.You better be careful out there.
    Benny & Lily

  2. Do you ever get just the tiniest bit nervous when seeing fresh bear claw marks, KB? I know you respect and understand them, but the deep gashes they leave on the trees, would have me forever looking all around! :)

  3. I'm back...I just read The Thundering Herd's comment in your previous post... I so agree with him...but you're right...that campsite was certainly creepy!

  4. I agree about the empty campsite being a creepy place. I always wonder what happened to make the people leave and if anybody got hurt and all that. My mother used to tell me I read too many books and maybe thats it!

    Thanks for your encouraging words to me, now that I have less pain, I am more eager to work harder on exercises!

    Jo and Stella

  5. Awesome photos, that first one is really something!!! And the flowers there are so unique. As always, we so enjoy our visit.

  6. I will be all shades of excited if you do get kitten shots!

    I can totally understand about a running dog in the "heat" too. Ours don't tolerate it well, either, and the older the get, the more careful I try to be with them about stuff like that.

  7. I really love the flower pics

    Khyra votes for the khytty khat

    Thanks for sharing all of them!

  8. Oh - I had to laugh at the expression on K's face! I followed bear track in the mud for a bit today, but saw no scat. However, did see overturned stones.The Skullcap photo is wonderful

  9. Great photos. It's been over 100 here for the last week so Wilf has taken to sleeping on the cold tiled floor of the corridor in the middle of the house. Walks have to take place before eight or after seven. Quite a change from Scotland.

  10. Love the thunderhead shot! We don't get those too often around here, so it's fun to see a great picture like that.

    K made me smile with her crossed eyes! I need to teach Kona to drink out of a camelbak, but she has a tough time with a water bottle.

    Wishing for kittens!!

  11. I hope she found a sweetie too. Look at us ... Bobcat Love Connection.

  12. Wanda: I don't fear seeing bears because every single experience that I've had has shown them to be very timid, smart, and curious. If I don't approach them once we make eye contact, they usually flee right away. On a few occasions, they've stuck around to examine me - and it really does look like they're curious about me - but they've never done anything threatening.

    I follow the rule that I never ever approach a bear once I see him or her. If there are cubs involved, I make sure not to get between them and their mom. By following those two rules, I've never had a bad interaction.

    I'll blog about my lengthiest interaction sometime. It was about 7 years ago when a bear wandered into my house clearing and got close to me (within 15 yards) without me noticing. What followed was SO cool, as she and I checked each other out and then she vanished into the forest. Since that day, I see bears in a completely different light.

    Just so you know that I'm not fearless, I am honestly afraid of mountain lions and big snakes.


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