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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!


  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

  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

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

  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

  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,


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

  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

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

  9. What a beautiful creature!

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


  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.

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

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

  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

  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!

  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.

  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!

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

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

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

  20. Wow, fabulous lion shots. Excellent.


  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)

  22. Wow! I love his big paws!


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

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

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

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

  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!

  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.


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

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

    Susan and Wrigs

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

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

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

  33. I always love your wildlife camera shots ^^

    And Shyla in action, of course!

  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;-)
    Ernie and the rest of the fur kids mom too of course


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