The Bobcats Next Door

Thursday, 30 July 2015.

A couple of years ago my New Year's resolution was to take a satisfying capture of a bobcat. I had only accidentally come across the elusive felines once or twice in the Marin Headlands and only managed to snap a blurry bobcat behind before they disappeared into the tall grass. Obviously some more dedication was in order.

First, I drastically increased my number of visits to the Marin Headlands. Rather than aimlessly roaming the trails, I familiarized myself with bobcat tracks, trails and scat. Once I had a pretty good idea of where they were likely to make an appearance I picked a nice vantage point and just waited. Most of the time I just got to enjoy the sounds and views of the Headlands. Sometimes I managed to capture some ravens, hawks or bluebirds. But a glorious handful of times, my furry buddies made an appearance! 

Check out the photos and descriptions of some of these exciting encounters below. Please let the record show that none of these cats were lured or baited.

First, there were butts

First, there were butts

With their small size, stealthy tread and effective camouflage bobcats don't have to put much effort into disappearing in tall grass.
Relax!

Relax!

When I spotted this bobcat sleeping, I lay down in the grass and waited for it to wake up. It groomed for a while and then went back to sleep. I used a 400mm telephoto lens for this shot, so I could get my shots while keeping my distance and not disturbing the cat.
Surprise Encounter

Surprise Encounter

This shot was an unplanned encounter. I was lying in wait for a king fisher to perch when this cat approached. When it noticed me it retreated a bit and took a nap.
Laying low

Laying low

It's hard to spot a bobcat that doesn't want to be seen. I'm sure I've passed them hundreds of times without ever noticing them.
Lazy on a warm day

Lazy on a warm day

Like house cats, bobcats like to find a sunny spot and be lazy.
Marking the territory

Marking the territory

These invasive new bag things need to be scent-marked!
Yawn

Yawn

In the winter, when the grass is low, they are a lot more exposed.
Gophers taste good

Gophers taste good

This cat caught one gopher after another. Unfortunately, it chose a rather unphotogenic spot to consume them.
Portrait

Portrait

I shot this bobcat portrait from a much closer range than I would ever aim to shoot a wild animal from. In this case, I stuck my lens through a hole in a fence as it was exploring a construction site when it curiously approached.
Regal Pose

Regal Pose

After eating a couple of gophers it's time to relax.


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