Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Thrilling and Most Unexpected Guest


I am fortunate to know small miracles and to hold them in the palm of my hand. 


I often see and expect to see many colorful wings of butterflies, birds and bees flitting about in the gardens and trees. Each seem like a small miracle to me. This north corner of my garden is a setting for a most unexpected guest. I shall never look upon it . . .  or walk within it . . .  quite the same again. For it seems to me . . .  a miraculous encounter of a very large order occurs here.


It is about midday . . . I am sitting at my computer editing, when suddenly I hear a small animal scurrying . . .  stirring dry leaves. I reach for my camera and take a look out the barn studio doors. A large brownish body of stealthy movement fills my eyes. I immediately know this is not a regular guest. 


I quietly open the screen door and it moves out into air and garden, allowing me a clear view of this magnificent creature, who stands not ten feet away from me. I stand in awe holding my Nikon SLR to my right eye . . . I am wearing a long skirt that falls to my ankles. This incredible chance sighting begins with an equal stare from me . . .  to the Bobcat and back again for sometime . . . enough time for me to take forty nine photographs. Clearly I am more of a curiosity than a threat . . . my face is not visible . . . nor any true human shape, since I am hidden behind lavender and blue folds of cloth. One knows this is a very shy animal . . . we are in rare time here.



I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this Lynx rufus. Equally amazed at him not running away. How boldly he displays his intricate markings.


I stand silent . . .  motionless, with the exception of the clicking of my camera, which seems to interest the feline. He moves in inquisitive and cautious ways, to further see the odd looking Cyclops of a thing gazing and clicking at himself.


He begins to back up. 


Scoping out the scene . . .  before he continues . . .  


stepping backwards, while his wide amber eyes hold me frozen . . . except for my index finger and left hand movement turning the lens in and out.




Then he turns around . . . seems to get lower to the ground and peeks over at me from behind a clump of  Hosta leaves.


So I think . . .  now he will bolt or at least walk away. Not so fast . . . he is not ready to give up on the stare game we are playing. His bobbed tail is expressive and if I knew how to read it, I might understand what is going on in his mind.




He has had enough and slowly turns around.


 Gorgeous Lynx! 



Gazing back . . .  through the Crabapples. I wish I understood tail language.



Now with a swift pace, he takes leave of me. 


One last look.


Then gone . . . as a Rose of Sharon stretches and senses wow! what was that? . . . Hosta seed pods shake, while Milkweed and Goldenrod sigh . . . that's a wild thing like us. How can I go on with my editing? I am too excited, but not sure I wish to go outside. This feline is much more in size than that of two domestic kitties . . . rather more like a very large dog. I call him a he because the male Bobcat is the larger of the sexes. I respect his space and leave the garden to the natives. I so hope you enjoy sharing this once in a lifetime experience with me. As I write this story, it is dark . . . the moon has not yet risen . . . Coyotes are howling and calling out in the lower garden . . . a frenzy that makes me fear for deer  perhaps eating fallen apples . . . their voices pierce the cool night in an exciting and blood curling way. Living so close to all these wild beings is inspiring, stimulating and keeps me inside more at night. Bobcat tend to dine on rabbits, field mice and many other small mammals. I have more concern for this one's cousin the Mountain Lion . . . though it has not been confirmed by biologists . . . several neighbors say they have seen these much larger human predators nearby.  If you would like to learn more about the solitary Bobcat you can visit here

66 comments:

sweetbay said...

Oh, how exciting! And you got so many absolutely wonderful pictures!! What a beautiful cat.

OneDay said...

So many wonderful shots. Must have been thrilling to be so close.

Lorac said...

Incredible! Great photos.You must have been thrilled to see this gorgeous creature up close!

One said...

That is a beauty and you managed to take that many wonderful shots. Thank you for sharing. I wonder if it was hungry.

Ria said...

Oh my lord. How beautiful. You must have felt trully honoured to be allowed to gaze at such a powerful, beautiful creature for even those brief few moments. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Bernie said...

Wow ... your photos took my breath away. I can't imagine how you must have been feeling at the time ... what an amazing thing! It is truly a magnificent looking creature ... thanks for sharing this experience.

Great flower lady said...

oh my what great photos.. an a great cat!!

Liz said...

Hi Carol,

Most certainly an amazing experience, hopefully not once in a lifetime for you!

Anja said...

Wow Carol!I tremble of excitement!How incredibly exiting and beautiful. How lucky you were when you did have presence of mind and tranquility to take these wonderful pictures of this rare visitor./Kram, Anja

Darla said...

Oh Dear. My heart was pounding as I read the account of this visitor. I believe this would scare the @#%! out of me...great photographs!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Carol girl ! My heart THUMPED !! when I saw these pictures ! .. Being a total cat person to see one of these gorgeous creatures with pictures taken by another blogger was perfection .. if I can't see them I am SO glad a blogger friend COULD !
When I was a child we would spend time at a cottage on a beautiful river .. we took our cat with us (and foolishly let her run free in the area .. now a days i shudder at that thought) long story short she was "mated" with a lynx and had bobtailed kittens .. we were all shocked .. it was amazing .. the kittens had such a wild nature they escaped the house when older and what life they had in the near by forest who knows .. hopefully that natural instinct came into play and they had a good life ?
These are heart stopping pictures Carol ! I am so happy you got this chance : )
Joy

Carol said...

Thank you all for sharing! I feel so lucky to have been at my computer, which I have set up so I can look right out into the garden. I could so easily have been in the house or on my way to a botanical drawing class. Just think of all the magical happenings/encounters like this we miss. 'One', Welcome . . . I would guess he was hungry and that is what brought him so close to the buildings. These creatures are usually very shy and not out in broad daylight this way. We have too many rabbits here . . . I am sure he was attracted to those varmints! I see them out in this north corner all the time. I hope this beauty will help me out and take a few with him. As a predator of an animal that is keeping me from being able to grow veggies or plant new plantings, have a terrace garden etc... the Bobcat is a very welcome unexpected guest, for more than just his amazing force and beauty. Things have gotten out of balance here at Flower Hill Farm.

FlowerLady said...

This was a fantastically wonderful post. The pictures and the words tell an awesome story. He is beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us. You are an exceptional photographer.

FlowerLady

Ginny said...

I am in awe - he is so beautiful!

Les said...

What a treat, and a blessing! I have only seen a Bobcat once in the wild, and that was the night before Hurricane Hugo as it ran across the road. All the island's animals were in a state of movement that night.

Who knew that Mass. could be such a wild place? You knew of course!

Randy Emmitt said...

Carol,
Wow how exciting! Great shots and great lighting, on a chance encounter like this getting good light is surely a big bonus! I recall spotting my first bobcat in Kentucky whilke camping in a rock cave (over hang really) it visited in the middle of the night.

tina said...

How very wonderful! I was entranced with him the whole time. A bit scared for you though. He's a beauty!

Karin Firminger Hicks said...

What a gorgeous creature! You captured its beauty through pictures amazingly well! I had a bobcat walk through my garden last year and it takes your breath away. Unfortunately I was sitting on my back deck and didn't have my camera with me but it was an incredible moment with nature I will always cherish.

Sophia Callmer said...

Amazing! They do exist here but very seldom come this far south, you are lucky to see it, I have heard they are extremly shy.
kram

LC said...

What an amazing opportunity and fantastic post... wow!! L

Heather said...

What a beautiful feline and looks to be in such good health.

How fortunate for you to see him!

Heather

joey said...

How awesome, Carol, a magical moment. We often see them at the lake but never near enough to photograph. What a thrill! Yesterday we did awaken to a yard filled with a flock of (about 35) wild turkeys who spend the morning dining on something delicious, maybe grubs.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Carol what a treat this post is. Gorgeous Lynx! sums it up. How wonderful and wild your place sounds. I bet the night time acoustics let the imagination run riot.

Sarah said...

amazing carol!

Gail said...

Carol, Isn't he splendid~Those eyes were wonderful. He didn't seem threatened or threatening. I felt you were two creatures checking each other out! As i looked at each photo and saw his beautiful fur coat, his hind legs built for running after and jumping to catch bunnies and his bobbed tail... I was enthralled! Thank you my dear~What a marvelous garden you have! gail

Edith Hope said...

Dearest Carol, What a heart stopping moment when the face of your Bobcat filled my computer screen. To have, as you say, such a wild animal in such close proximity is both exhilerating and somewhat frightening at the same time I should think. But, what good fortune that you could capture him forever with your camera. Now you can relive that moment over and over agian and so, dearest Carol, can we, your readers. For which, many thanks!!

Carla said...

What a treat! I have only seen a Bobcat once in my life and that was years ago in our local mountains. We hear of them now and then but it is a rare sighting. You have a special place indeed.
Carla

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Carol, What incredible photographs and what great presence of mind you had taking them! I cannot begin to explain the excitement I felt just reading this story. Excellent! Pam x

Meredehuit ♥ said...

Dear Carol, I would have been scared out of my bajeebies! As a child I spent much time with my father hiking in the mountains. He always told me that bobcats were just plain mean and he'd rather meet up with a mountain lion on a trail than a bobcat. A bobcat woud just as soon tear you apart as look at you. I was/am a believer and have always kept my distance from their dens when hiking. Your pictures are amazing and I'm so glad you are safe.

bennie and patsy said...

Wonderful!
Patsy

africanaussie said...

Carol, you had me on the edge of my seat - what wonderful photos! what a georgous creature - those eyes :) Life is all a precarious balance isnt it?

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Awesome Carol! It is thrilling when they lock their sights on you isn't it? I bet your Nikon lens was firing as fast as mine the first time I came that close to a Bobcat. In that case I was torn, as the cat was robbing a blackbird nest, but somehow my brain switched into documentary photographer mode, and I just sat there, trigger-finger twitching on the shutter release. I felt bad for the birds, but he was just doing what bobcats do, I was just privileged to observe. You have some beautiful photographs there, and unlike mine, you don't have to worry about making anyone faint at the sight of a mouthful of young nestlings ;)

Kate (daisygirl_io) said...

Wow, Carol! What a beautiful animal and to see it so close up too! I went back and looked at your photos a few times. He really has gorgeous eyes, but I can imagine it might have been a bit unnerving as well. whew!

The Violet Fern said...

This is fantastic! What a magical moment, and especially thankful you have shared. What a beautiful creature.

biobabbler said...

a-MAAAAAAA-zing!!! Absolutely thrilling. I've seen them a few times here, and the first time I went down our dirt road to scare if off (as I had chickens wandering about) it just stared at me: "What?" =) Like encounters I've had with foxes--very much "well, you ARE on my trail..." Funny. Didn't know they were like that. Beautiful, elegant creatures. =) SO glad you saw him and with SUCH a STUNNING back and foreground--WOW. WONderful shots! =)

Char's Gardening said...

Incredible photos. What an exhilarating and scary encounter. I've never seen a bobcat, I think I would be scared. I know there are Florida panthers here, but I have never seen one, and not sure I want to.

ruma said...

She is wrapped in colorful Nature and looks happy.
The gentle fragrance of the green is felt.

Thank you.
ruma

THB (Ellen) said...

oh my goodness, oh my goodness, Carol thank you for sharing those amazing photos of your bobcat visitor...they are said to live in our area too but we have only once spotted one in the distance..we caught a glimpse of it as our dogs chased it into the woods and its cat gait seemed unmistakeable..

Let us know when you see a reduction in your veggie varmint rabbits, we have the same problem and any natural predators are welcome since my dogs never seem to notice the rabbits! (too busy sleeping) :-)

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

What an amazing post. I felt like I was standing there with you trying to puzzle out what was in his mind.

Brian said...

This cat must have sensed that your farm is a sanctuary, free from unnatural predation. Great shots.

ryan said...

That is an awesome sighting. Your place must have very good onda. Good show.

Ami said...

What a once a lifetime encounter! I love your writings so much as well!!!

JGH said...

Gosh, I love coming here! What an extraodinary encounter. He probably had quite a story for his family when he got back ;-)

debsgarden said...

What an amazing encounter! And if the bobcat could communicate in such a way, I am sure he would be telling his friends about the encounter, too! I always look forward to your posts and am never disappointed. Thanks!

ann said...

Oh Carol. the photos of the Lynx are amazing. We have Lynx here in Colorado, but they are endangered and a very small population has been transplanted here. What a wonderful and rare photo op. ann

catmint said...

Hi Carol, what a wonderful experience living close to wild mammals. I don't like domestic cats, because they hunt birds and often turn feral and are responsible for the near extinction of many small native mammals. But Bobcat is different - he is a wild native not a pet and eats rabbits which are not exactly in danger of extinction! cheers, catmint

Eva said...

Dear Carol, This is a tribute to your story-telling and to your magic. It is a wonder . . . and yet not, that you should have such a visitation. You are a friend to these creatures, and they must know. I can never look at our Theo the same way anymore. The images are stunning. The eyes, penetrating. I thought my "favorite" was the one in the hosta. But as I scrolled down further and further, I realized I could have no favorites. Just an overwhelming appreciation to be included in this sighting.

Autumn Belle said...

A truly magnificient creature. There's something about his face that reminds me of Avatar.

Becca's Dirt said...

My goodness girl. Awesome. He sure seemed to be taken in with the staring. Good camera. I have been told by a few that there are bobcats in the woods where I live. I actually haven't seen him but I have seen the foxes and deer.

Ellada said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!
AMAZING!!!!!!!!
You are so lucky, bravo for sharing.
That was fantastic.
Once again, BRAVO.

Sarah Laurence said...

Wow! Stunning photo of a gorgeous creature. I can’t believe you have lynx in your backyard. Lucky you. Thanks for sharing this sequence – it was like watching a movie.

JWLW said...

Carol: you have out done yourself with this post. Great Photos and dialog. We have not seen a Bobcat here, now we don't need to, just go to your post and enjoy. I can tell from your posts that you can feel the presence of the wildlife around you. That's great you are experiencing a feeling that many people never have.

Have you ever been in the garden and had the feeling that someone or thing is watching you?

Have a great evening,
John

COUNTRY GAL said...

Beautiful shots ! I love your blog and am now another follower . Have a great day !

Ken and Elaine said...

Love your photos and blog, we have to definatly follow! Have a great day !

Mildred said...

Thanks to Patsy for sending me here to share in this rare sighting! Thanks for sharing these amazing photos!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Wow..stunning photos..what a beautiful visitor you had! Thanks for sharing this once in a life time experience!
I came over from Patsy and Bennies:)

sandy, from gardenpath said...

What an opportunity! You got some really great shots. By the looks of the cat, it did know someone was near by. We have sitings up here in Maine, but nothing local.

jeansgarden said...

Oh my gosh, Carol, I'm just catching up with your blog. That was amazing! Your photos made me feel like I was there with you; I could feel my heart starting to race. Wow! Wow! Wow! (Now I'm not going to be able to get back to work!) -Jean

Elephant's Eye said...

Like Jean, I have only just happened on this. How grateful we are to you Carol, for making a space in the world for this bobcat. Perhaps you will see him again one day?

RABIN said...

This is beautiful - I love reading your commentary - the last part was scary - I would definitely be locked indoors - will visit your site tomorrow - Rabin

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

WOW, your pictures are amazing!!! I'm so sorry I missed this post, I'm glad I caught the picture in your sidebar. I showed them to DH and he said 'hey, is that the same lady with the Monarchs?'. Your visitor is spectacular, thank you for sharing the pictures. :)

Gardeningbren said...

Dear Carol...I experienced your thrill, almost the same day you did and I have not quite gotten over it since. I searched online to find good photos of bobcats and never did. Today, I stumbled on your blog via Jodi's and there he was in your sidebar looking back at me...magnificent and beautiful; your photos so crisp and personal. Thank you.

I saw mine, attempting to cross a road here in Nova Scotia, and not making it and hesitantly turning back. He (yes bigger than the females) was soaked as it was a black day with torrential rain. My heart just about stopped.. he slipped gently back into the forest from whence he came.

Such a thrill and so glad I found your post!

Tammie Lee said...

Carol,
thank you for sharing this with us! What a wonderful edgy experience. Your photos show the extreme majesty of this animal. I loved all the expressions from tail to nose. Thank you!

also, you are a wonderful story teller ~

Anonymous said...

Wow what an experience. Just happened to stumble upon your pictures. Thank You!

Randi said...

Wow dear Carol, Im really impressed! How could you stay so calm and take so beautiful and perfect shots!? I'm really impressed that you dared to stand still, hold the camera so steady and only see through the lens without checking on what could happen outside of your view. Thank you for sharing your wonderful, exhilerating experience and beautiful shots!

Gardeningbren said...

Carol...with the snow on the ground, we know the bobcat is back, although he likely never left. I revisited this post, as it surprises me how large his paw prints are, but looking at your excellent photos clearly shows, they are large..larger than one would expect for the size of this magnificent animal. I just wonder if you have seen the bobcat again? Hope so.

Related Posts with Thumbnails