On a visit to Pt. Reyes this week, we came upon this beautiful bobcat. One of my favorite wilderness haunts in northern California, Pt. Reyes did not disappoint.
When we came upon this bobcat, it was in a field where we had seen a bobcat about two years earlier. Since the pandemic curtailed travel two years ago, we have been visiting Pt. Reyes nearly every month and we always drive slowly at this spot, every single visit, searching, scanning, always looking to get lucky with another siting. And this time…bingo.
Lynx rufus is very territorial, so it’s probably the same individual we saw earlier.
This is a female. Her body was about three feet (a meter) long; sleek and muscular.
Unlike all the other times I have observed a wild bobcat, she did not disappear right away.
She continued to prowl in the grassy field. Then she was crouched and clearly stalking something.
Athena quietly jumped out of the car and huddled behind the vehicle, using it for a partial blind as she snapped these photos.
Another minute went by and then the bobcat pounced. She came up with a large pocket gopher firmly clenched in her jaws.
Instead of heading in the opposite direction to indulge in her prize, the bobcat surprisingly walked right past us.
Females solely care for the young who are typically born in April or May, so we determined she caught this pocket gopher for her kittens.
She was on a mission to feed some hungry mouths. Probably three or four waiting for her in their den, where they will depend on her for about a year.
This photo shows her pointy lynx ears.
Here you can see her short, bobbed tail for which the cat is named. And her big feline paws are prominent, as well as her exquisite markings.
We watched in silent reverence for five precious minutes, and then she, and her fresh gopher, descended down the hill and out of sight.
Written by Jet Eliot.
Photos by Athena Alexander.