When we had our first dusting of snow last week, I noticed a very active animal trail with a variety of tracks on it. So, I staked it out with a remote wildlife camera and caught photos of some traffic on it last night.
First, a mule deer doe moved through fast. Sorry about the blurriness - I might have the camera too close to the animal trail to get clear photos. Trail camera placement is a tricky skill to master.
Then, a rabbit froze in front of the camera.
Then, a bobcat sauntered through, doubtless interested in the scents of the rabbit and the deer.
When you compare the size of the bobcat and the mule deer both in the same camera view like the photos above, it is almost unfathomable that bobcats can kill deer. But, numerous sources say that it has been observed. Wildlife biologists believe that bobcats try to sneak up on sleeping deer and pounce on their necks, attempting to deliver a killing bite that severs the spinal cord before the deer starts moving. This plan does not always work - and there are multiple reports of people seeing fleeing deer with bobcats clinging to their necks.
On the rare occasion when a bobcat does kill a deer, it covers the body with debris and eats it over the course of numerous days, attempting to fight off scavenging coyotes and other carnivores. However, the primary foods for bobcats are rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents - not deer.
It's funny - when I head out into the woods each morning, I look at the world very differently now that I have my secret view of the animals' lives via my wildlife cameras. I notice little details, like a scraping in the dirt, and wonder who left those marks. Often, I end up pointing a wildlife camera at a spot that accumulates markings on numerous nights to learn the answers to my questions.
This morning, K and I wandered out for our very short hike. She meticulously examined each bush, tree branch, and scraped spot on the ground. I could tell which ones were likely most important because she peed a reply.
We arrived in our meadow, and the wind caught her orange bandanna and flipped it up, making her Little Orange Riding Hood for Halloween-eve.
K and I saw lots of what I call "snowberries" on our little hike. I don't know the real name for these plants because I always notice them after all their leaves are gone, allowing their tiny white berries to be on full display.
As we passed through the agility course on our way home from our hike, K insisted on placing her paws on a ramp. Notice the leash is still attached - otherwise, I was afraid that she'd insist on negotiating the whole thing!
K's spirits have been SO amazing and resilient during this whole ordeal of recovering from tendon surgery. She watches R go with me mountain biking, and, if she has a kong to work on, she doesn't act sad about it. The only thing that she cannot handle is watching me take R for a long evening walk without her. Even a frozen kong can't pacify her. I can hear her howling and crying from a half mile away. So, I don't leave her alone to exercise R in the evening anymore. Soon enough, we'll all be doing longer hikes together.
This morning, to my utter amazement, I felt good enough to ride my bike with R. I had a nasty virus yesterday and lost 5 lbs in one day! But, it was a one-day thing, and I've already bounced back. During our ride, we headed up to Hug Hill where R fruitlessly searched for rodents.
I attempted, in vain, to explain to him that they'd all gone into hibernation.
He didn't believe me. So it goes in the world of an OCD dog who includes rodents among his obsessions. But, I love him anyway.
One last piece of news - the fire is 70% contained, and all evacuees have been allowed to return home. Thank goodness! Now I think that it's time for our brown meadows to be painted white with snow like the towering peaks in the distance to finally put this endless fire season to rest.