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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime and a Wildlife Mystery

The idyllic spring-summertime is continuing here, with enough rain that the fire danger isn't even an issue yet and the wildflowers are lasting a long time.
New ones are emerging too. This trail will be "Columbine Alley" a little later in the summer but you can see one tall Columbine just above Shyla's head.
The meadow areas remain speckled with yellow, as the Golden Banner wildflowers have gone wild this year.
Shyla decided that she needed to go incognito so that the crazy photographer wouldn't recognize her...
Meanwhile, I've still been struggling with the dang migraines and an unstable shoulder. But, I don't want to miss even a single day when Mother Nature is glowing with beauty like this.
I've also been puzzling out some wildlife situations that my trail cameras have revealed. One situation involves that mountain lion photo that I showed you the other day. It actually involved at least two mountain lions.

Early one morning, I captured a photo of a collared mountain lion in typical territory for these felines. She was alone. I'm assuming this lion was a female because she wasn't leaving scrapes and she's not big or muscular as an adult male lion.

Then, about a mile away, I captured a photo of another collared mountain lion, who I presumed was the same one as from earlier that morning.
This lion was fascinated with the area near a bear-marking tree.
I really hate seeing all the gear attached to these collared lions. I can only imagine that it hinders them.

After rolling around, she departed to the left in the photo.
That night (14 hours later), at the same site, a collared mountain lion appeared again. This makes sense... The above mountain lion could have been going to a nearby "day bed" to sleep for the day. And then, after dark, she could have been heading out to go hunting.
Here's the part that confused me. Another lion was right on the collared lion's heels. This lion was soaked from the rain earlier in the evening, unlike the collared lion. And, he appeared to be smaller - possibly an older kitten. But, if he was the collared lion's kitten, why was he soaked while she wasn't?

This new lion became interested in the scent where the collared lion had rolled earlier that morning.

 Then, he appeared to hurry to catch up with the other lion.
He even "bounded" out of the picture. I've never seen an adult lion use any gait except for a saunter (i.e., an assertive walk). The "bound" really made me think he was young.
I'd be interested to hear any thoughts you might have on this sequence of trail camera photos. I'm so curious to figure out what was going on.


  1. perhaps she took the den and wouldn't allow him into it during the rains?

  2. Are there any ponds or creeks nearby. Is it possible the younger lion could have jumped in or fallen in while being a silly youngster? That would be my first guess, but I don't know the area like you do.

    Gorgeous photos of your corner of the world today, too!

  3. MOM and I have no idea. I for one try to stay out of the rain as much as possible. Beautiful photo as always. They always brighten out day.

  4. Hmm, I don't know about the behavior - maybe what houndstooth said...the younger one was playing in a pond or stream. I agree with you though - all that paraphernalia around their neck must be restrictive...too bad.

  5. We know one thing, and that is we love to come see you and your posts,,, and we so admire your zest for living each moment,, and savoring it

  6. I just love that first photo of Shyla. Beautiful!

    Perhaps there was some kind of den, and the kitten was wandering around outside of it while mother hid? Fallen or played in water? Pushed up against a tree wet from rain and gotten wet from the droplets on the branches? What a mystery!

  7. I just love that you have the chance to share these trail shots that keep us speculating!!

  8. First of all, I've been MIA the past few months (college finals, graduation, moving, I live in FL Keys now!!!) so I haven't been faithfully reading. Shyla looks grown up, like a young lady now. I have no opinions of the cats, other than maybe the younger one is a yearling, recently separated. I know nothing really of lion ecology, but maybe he/she tags along just out of reach of Mom, but isn't ready to cut the cord just yet.

  9. I agree with Houndstooth, maybe the younger kitty was playing and then went all SPLASH in some water because it's a kitty and not all serious like mom?

  10. I don't know anything about mountain lions, except they are awesome and that is so cool you can watch them like this. The collars are a bummer though.

  11. I agree - the collars are a hindrance. I wonder why after all this time science hasn't come up with a less invasive method of tracking wildlife? Even our dogs don't have collars that large and cumbersome - so why would anyone think that's a good idea for wild animals?

    I have no idea - but I bet you will unravel the mystery! My vote is also for taking a dip in the water. :)

  12. We're going for the dip in the water theory as well. Shyla sure looks cool in her shades!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  13. We are just loving all of your gorgeous wildflowers! You look fabulous in your shades, Shyla!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  14. We have smaller collars on our bears for example. I Think you have them in the US too.
    Could be a kitten to her....

  15. I don't know either. But I do know I love those shades Shyla!

  16. In this day and age can't we just we put a chip or something in them to tag them? It does make me said to see the collar.

    Shyla rocks her glasses!

  17. it's possible you happen to have a bear rub tree that's a mark spot for lions as well. We have a bear rub that is also a wolf mark tree and another rub was used as a scrap tree by a lion. I'm sure the biologist that collared the lion would love to have the photos - both for the behavior and for the confirmation of accuracy of the collar locations.


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