Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Surprise!

Shyla and I started our day with a snowbike ride in our neck of the woods. She zoomed through green Kinnikinnick just after sunrise.
She is so fast and graceful that she astounds me. I can barely keep up with her sometimes but I adore watching her zip back and forth by my bike, covering at least three times the distance that I do.

We pedaled up to Hug Hill where wind fluttered past us. It was a gentle breeze compared some of our winter winds. I played with my "usual lens" and then a 100 mm macro lens that a generous person has loaned to me. The difference was incredible. The colors and detail stunned me with the loaned lens even though I didn't push it toward its "macro" limits even the slightest bit.

Shyla's ears flapped in the wind, making graceful shapes.
She seemed to enjoy sampling the scents on the wind coming off of the invisible Continental Divide.

After our ride, I headed out alone to check a trail camera that is posted in a new place for me. I've had a remarkable lack of success with my trail cameras for the past two winters so I decided that it was time to try some "long shot" locations. Last fall, I noticed lots of cat "scrapes" on a certain rocky slope, and I marked the spot with my GPS to post a trail camera there someday. Now, the scrapes are under the snow but many sets of old bobcat tracks pock the area.

As I'd expected, I captured a photo of one of our tenacious bobcats.
Then, I captured a photo of his quarry, who is still alive and well, as far as I know.
As I checked the trail camera, I stood at the site, scrolling through the photos in chronological order. Right after the rabbit photo, this huge guy appeared hulking in the view finder. I literally jumped.
He was very curious about the camera which emits a soft red glow (an infrared "flash") at night.
He sniffed the area below the camera, where I kneel when I check it, giving the camera a great view of the furrow in the middle of his forehead.
After that, all his body parts including his long tail passed very close to the camera, as he tracked the movements that I'd made when I set up the camera. I could see his tracks today, following mine in the snow.

When he'd finished checking out my scent, he reappeared in front of the camera. He's a bulky and strong mountain lion. You can also see that he recently ate a big meal. His tummy is bulging.
He then examined the area where I know that there are lots of cat scrapes under the snow from my reconnaisance last fall.
He rolled around in the snow a bit, like a lion whom we followed last fall, making me wonder if it's the same one. I'd never seen this behavior until last fall.
Then, he prepared to leave, pausing stock still for a moment.
Then, just like that, he vanished like a ghost - a giant predator who lives all around us but somehow remains invisible to people almost all the time. 

That series of photos was a wonderful Friday surprise!

35 comments:

  1. Perfect macro shot, details so fine. Trail cams, wow!! I would be quite scared, well totally terrified to think this animal might be where I had been standing, do they come in the daytime too , when you are in that area?? Cheers from Jean

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my heart. What an amazing set of photos. Loved the pictures of Shylas ears flying in the breeze. I loved loved loved the cat. What a thrill it must be for you (almost a scary thrill) to know that he knows you were there, he knows who you are, and how you smell. He probably knows morea bout you than we can imagine. It is creapy but wonderful.

    I am so jelous. (in a good way)

    Bert's My Vickie

    ReplyDelete
  3. I literally just said "wow" out loud. How amazing and beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Woof! Woof! LOVE the name of the hill, HUG. Talked to some our friends form CO and they told us it was a beautiful sunny day. Shyla surely enjoyed her day. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    ReplyDelete
  5. The big cat is a real beauty, isn't he?

    The new lens is giving you all kinds of ideas,and I can't wait to see more shots.

    Shyla is an amazement to me. Does she love the wild too much to really love town life?

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! The cougar is one of my favourite animals. So cool! Happy Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the picture of Shyla running and her beautiful ears. The cat photos are so amazing. I have never lived anywhere that I could have seen anything like that. Thank you for sharing and showing me the beauty of nature.

    Anne and Sasha

    ReplyDelete
  8. OMD.....Probably a good thing he remains invisible to people! I'd really hate to meet him face to face!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful creature!
    Nola

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats on your success with the new trail camera placement. Looks like you hit the jackpot on this one. Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gorgeous photos. We have wildlife around us, but we rarely get to see it.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    We think he was posing for the camera.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cool pictures of the cats. Bunny please run and hide!
    Benny & Lily

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow how cool you caught these photos.
    Shyla has amazing ears :)
    Cotton

    ReplyDelete
  14. Indeed a wonderful treat, KB! Thank you for letting us in on it as well. You have no idea how much I appreciate the pictures, your blog, and... well... the kind person that you are, towards the earth & animals.

    Sincerely-- Andrea
    XOXOXO

    ReplyDelete
  15. Both photoshoots are successful, the one with with the loaned lens and the one with the trail camera. Wow, you got the mountain lion! Great shots!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those ear shots of Shyla are amazing! Such detail. Really felt like you could reach out and feel her soft furs. MOM loves the thought when we are out and about in the woods of the eyes that are watching us. And even more amazed at the thought of those eyes that check out our movement after we have gone.
    Blessings,
    Goose

    ReplyDelete
  17. You know how much I enjoy looking at all of your beautiful trailcam pics, but I still get scared!! Like you said...they live all around ... just stay invisible!! Love the pic of Shyla's ears! She looks so happy when she is out with you! Happy Weekend!
    xo
    Jeanne

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a fabulous lens! We can count each fur on the back of your head, Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

    ReplyDelete
  19. Khyra is on her way to meet that nice khytty!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, fabulous lion shots. Excellent.

    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
  21. incredible images!! all of them. I may need to invest in a bigger lens....(first i need to learn how to use a camera...i've been meaning to take a class forever...i just fumble through)
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow! I love his big paws!

    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  23. Fabulous photos KB! Love Shylas ears and that fellow is huge-hope you don't meet him on the trail.
    Happy Saturday.
    Noreen

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow great wild camera pics....the lion is awsome.....love it...
    Shyla is always the best model :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. One ear up one down so cute! Great shots of the Big Kitty. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ah thank you! I just love being able to read your stories and see the photos of your wildlife!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm having lens envy! Those photos of Shyla are really incredible!

    The mountain lion looks so magnificent. I'd say by the looks of things that he's in good health and living well!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Shyla can really do the zoom zoomies with grace! It's amazing how you can capture her quick motions. We love the photos.

    We are always in awe with the wildlife that you see and we thank you for sharing them with us.

    Love,

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Max, Wai-Pai & Forgie

    ReplyDelete
  29. The detail with the macro lens is wonderful! Love the mountain lion shots, too.

    Susan and Wrigs

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh my gosh, that must be so strange to know he was following your scent and footsteps. Just got chills!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Fascinating. I love how you point out interesting details.

    ReplyDelete
  32. That is one big strong boy.
    Shylas coat looks so soft.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I always love your wildlife camera shots ^^

    And Shyla in action, of course!

    ReplyDelete
  34. We are getting back into reading and posting. We have missed so much. One of the things we have really missed is reading yours. The beautiful pics of Shyla, R, the landscapes around where you live and the wildlife pics. Oh and yes, your outlook and comments,attitude. Thanks for sharing with all of us;-)
    Wags
    Ernie and the rest of the fur kids mom too of course

    ReplyDelete

If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!