Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wild Neighbors

Part I
our neighbor called Wednesday morning to tell us that she had seen a bobcat earlier, walking between her house and ours, and that it was right now in her driveway. we had hot food just ready to serve. grabbing the camera and turning off the stove, we ran out the door and towards the neighbors driveway, about 250 feet from ours, thinking, surely it will be gone. we walked cautiously so as not to scare it away, nor give it reason to see us as attackers from whom it must defend itself. (Click on pictures for a close up look.)
RD spotted the bobcat across the road from the driveway in dry grass, about 100 feet (or so) away. it stared at us while we took turns with the camera shooting at various settings and with/without our tele extension lens (Olypus TCON-14B). it stood still and stared at us, looking away casually sometimes. then it walked a bit, seeming to stare at the ground as though it might be hunting. would we see it actually catch a critter? no. it sauntered about 10 feet, sat down, and started licking itself, looking like most any housecat. but larger.
Is it crazy to take 100 photos of one wild cat? How could we not? We stare at it. It stares back. It seems young and doesn't know to be wary of us. It keeps its distance, and we keep ours, but it seems nonchalant. We find it hard to tear ourselves away.
we head home and nuke the homemade breakfast burritos, mentioned above as food, and enjoyed them while looking at pictures of the bobcat.

Part II
after we eat RD prints one of the best shots to take to the neighbors. as we leave to deliver it i grab a yardstick and the camera, with the aim of putting me and the yardstick where the cat was and having RD take a picture as an indication of its size. as we approach the area i'm looking for the exact spot, thinking that surely the cat will be long gone. au contraire! mr or ms bobcat is now lying down relaxing in the sun! i take more pictures, even walking to the edge of the road closest to it. RD fetches the neighbors, who bring their camera and take some pics. RD takes more shots. the cat sits up regally for us.
While we are standing with neighbors, two cars pull up. One an Infiniti SUV, the other who knows what. We realize that the fine little field this cat has been sitting in is really 5 acres of prime real estate fresh on the market. Out of the SUV walks a real estate agent, and out of the other vehicle her client. The bobcat sits up and takes notice. I walk over and point him out to them. I don't want them to traipse into the field in their boundless enthusiasm and scare him away. They look over and agree it would be better to let him be. Of course how long will a bobcat be comfortable in this neck of the woods when we're building houses in all their favorite hunting places. How long before we stop seeing them at all?
as we leave to go home the cat is still there.

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