Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day

It didn't start snowing until almost 1 o'clock this afternoon, but school was cancelled for the day anyway. The kids and I had a lazy start to the day, having breakfast about 9. The squirrels were out there pigging out as usual, but suddenly there was a huge flurry of activity, animals racing across the lawn, that caught our attention. We realized that something large had just chased a couple of squirrels up a tree. They went too high for the larger animal to follow them, at which point it started to back down the tree and then raced off into the woods in pursuit of another squirrel. It took me a moment to figure out what it was - it looked vaguely racoon sized - but then as it turned and I saw its face and then looked again at its tail, I realized it was a bobcat! They're not particularly uncommon animals in North America, but it's really unusual to see them in broad daylight! Descriptions of them usually include the words 'elusive' and/or 'seldom seen'.

DS was convinced he'd seen a leopard or cheetah until I looked it up online and showed him some pictures. You can see why he was confused:

Of course the whole thing happened far too fast for me to get any photos of my own. We went out afterwards to look at the footprints, but although the bobcat's prints were noticeably different to all the squirrel prints out there they didn't look particularly cat-like. The snow on the ground this morning was covered in a layer of ice and there were several places where the bobcat hadn't even broken through the ice and so there were no pawprints at all!

tree snow
The large white circles are not snowflakes but drops of water on the window.

birdfeeder

10 comments:

Mmm said...

That last pic is wonderful. Do you live near a mini forest or something? Very picturesque.

Almost American said...

Thanks Mmm. Unlike David McMahon, I sometimes crop my photos to make them look the way I want.

Yes, there are trees behind the house.

sablonneuse said...

Is it likely the bobcat was so hungry it came out hunting in daylight?

Almost American said...

After doing a bit of reading, I found out that in the winter bobcats are somewhat more likely to be out and about in daylight hours. Probably just taking every advantage of good hunting time - and probably very hungry as you suggested Sandy! I know our rabbits (supposedly a bobcat favourite to eat) are still around in the winter as we see poop on the grass, but I'm sure the squirrels are equally yummy to a bobcat. We think we have 6 squirrels in our yard (up from just one when we moved in 4 years ago.) It will be interesting to see if we seem to have fewer squirrels now - we haven't seen ANY this morning, but with a foot of snow on the ground and snow still falling, I'm sure they're sitting tight and staying warm for now.

Expat said...

Your post and photos remind me of my childhood in Minnesota when we had habitual snows like in your photo, and wildlife seen crossing our yard each day (we lived out in the country).

Nice to see a snow like this during the Christmas season, even if virtually!

Expat 21
"Expat Abroad" in the Middle East
expat21.wordpress.com

ExpatKat said...

Wow! What a sighting.

Expat mum said...

Bloody hell - I don't think I'd go outside then! The most we have a is an awful possum living under someone's front porch.

Almost American said...

If I hadn't lived in this area for so many years, stories about the wildlife would put me off too - but over 12 years in our backyard we've only seen bears 4 or 5 times, deer a couple of times, a bobcat twice. Mostly all we ever see are squirrels and the neighbours' dogs. The most annoying wild animals around here are the mice who have found their way into our attic.

ped crossing said...

Our snow brought significantly less excitement here. We only had a large gathering of birds after we spread seeds out on the ice crust under the willow tree. I counted over two dozen.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. :)

Maddy said...

Very scenic [especially from behind a nice double glazed window!]

Happy holidays to you and yours

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