I shared, recently, that this has been an unusual and somewhat disappointing summer for wildlife sightings during my runs. There have been tarantula’s in extreme numbers, and a record year for encounters with one my favorite desert dwellers, the Horny Toad. Other animals seem to be hiding, or avoiding the human on the trail. Or maybe they are waiting for the Monsoon season to arrive (it was a no show).
The wild file is beginning to fill up with some epic photos and videos as the fall begins to unfold in the arid, but, thriving Desert Southwest. I have seen a number of animals, recently, and not just those that possess a rattle.
My photography/video skill level has improved over the summer season of running on Dave’s Trail and this has been a banner year for what I consider the best photos and/or videos of a lengthy list of animals. My best photos of a bobcat would surprisingly unveil as my trail shoes tapped onto my special trail (I think I have seen two people on it all summer).
As I crested the first hill, my eyes darted to an animal crossing my dirt track. My first thought was it was one of the two coyote youngsters I had seen in the same exact location the evening before (their home is very close by). When I have witnessed the coyotes, I have fumbled for my camera, only to see them scurry out of sight, before I can fire a shot off.
I caught sight of a jack rabbit about twenty yards down the dirt track. Ears thrusting to the clouds, these rabbits are still an odd sight. My eyeballs about fell out when I spotted a bobcat hiding within the brush a handful of feet to my right. Neither the animal with the ears nor the bobcat seemed to be concerned with my presence. They both must have seen me go by extremely slowly, in the past. Not a threat in running shoes.
I took a few quiet steps toward the bobcat. Some excitement in the air as this was my first bobcat this summer. I usually see two or three over the oven baked season that is summer.
Feline eyeballs were focused on hoppity ears, but the scene was playing out very slowly. This was likely a very young bobcat having been ‘kicked’ out of the home and was experiencing his first days on his own. Not totally at home with hunting and not leary of humans, I was enthralled to witness nature in the wild.
Hoppity ears crossed the trail and the bobcat lazily took the bait. Seeming to be more amused at seeing an animal that was 63% ears, than needing to have a meal, the bobcat sat on the hillside for 10+ minutes, gazing ahead. Gazing, but not grazing.
I was about thirty feet away, snapping photos and getting some jumpy video on my non-stabilized point and shoot camera. It was getting dark and I got a rare look from the bobcat as I tried to get even closer. He eventually moved up the hillside, never ringing the dinner bell. I took off down the trail only to see an owl, about thirty feet away, in a tree next to the trail.
Photo of a jack rabbit from the day after seeing the bobcat. This must be ‘the’ jack rabbit as I have come across exactly one rabbit that I can get close to (and that a certain bobcat can get close to). These hoppers are super duper skittish and when I enter the same zip code they smash their paws against the dirt in frantic rhythm and escape.