A Rare Encounter

December 6, 2011

At least it is rare for me.  Before Thanksgiving, I was visiting friends north of Williamsport.  I really enjoy spending time in their woods, as it is a little different than our woods.  They have lots of Hemlock and White Pine growing in their forest, along with a lot of Chestnut Oak.  Not only do they have different bird species, but there is always the chance to see interesting mammals that aren’t common at Mariton.

One afternoon, I happened to see a bobcat!  For me this is huge.  It was my first bobcat sighting.  The cat was small and probably born earlier this year.  I actually saw it catch a vole or mouse and play with it before walking off with the mouse dangling from its mouth.  (Excuse the photo it was near dusk and I had to take the picture through some brush.)

I realize lots of people will probably never see a bobcat in the wild.  What is funny is that I have seen other cats that are even rarer.  I watched a mountain lion stalking in Colorado.  It was a pretty rare sighting at that time.  I have since seen other mountain lions, but they are more common out west nowadays.

Then, I saw a lynx in Canada.  It stepped out on a trail that I was walking and sat there for several minutes, and even groomed itself.  How many people can say they saw a lynx in the wild?

Bobcats have been on my “sighting wish list” for a long time.  So, it has bugged me that I haven’t chanced upon a bobcat.  I’ve seen tracks.  I have found scat, but the bobcat has eluded me.  Bobcats are pretty common in Pennsylvania, especially in the northern tier.  They are also the cat species best suited to fit into populated areas without being noticed.  (We probably have bobcats regularly in our area.)  So, now my goal is to sight an adult bobcat.