Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Bobcat on the Patio (Again)

Today I noticed a bobcat near the front door of the house, which noticed me back and lashed its stumpy tail as it locked eyes with me (and I was inside the mudroom looking out, so it very aware of its surroundings).

It headed in the direction of the patio, so I quickly (and quietly) moved to the bedroom (which overlooks the patio) and Hayduke the Cat, lounging in the wicker chair by the screen door, meowed loudly twice, hoping for attention.

I expected that the bobcat would be gone after the meowing, but as I peeked slowly around the edge of the door, there it was, about three feet away from me (the spot indicated by the star in the photo below). It stared right back, for several long-seeming seconds, continuing to lash its stump tail, then casually wandered off onto the slope, and slowly moved towards the brush line. It indicated little fear, and seemed confident. Crows immediately kicked up a ruckus of cawing above it. It seemed a little bit bigger than Hayduke, who weighs about 18 pounds, but the bobcat had a lean, experienced look about it.

The patio, with door to bedroom on the right.
Hayduke apparently never figured out that a large predator was about four feet from him, but Jinx (the outdoor kitty) was nervous and took refuge high up near the roof in the garage.

Perhaps this cat was attempting to get a drink from the new bird bath that I made from some spare concrete we had left over from the greenhouse project. Beechey Ground Squirrels, Wild Turkeys, Acorn Woodpeckers and Western Scrub Jays have been visiting the bird bath regularly.

The concrete bird bath that I made about a week ago. It seems popular with the local wildlife, especially as the available water in the neighborhood decreases due to warmth and lack of rain.
NOTE AS OF JUNE 25 (the next day):

At 5:30 am this morning the bobcat returned and paid a visit to the bird bath. Gary saw if first and woke my up so I could get a quick look too before the cat moved on again (it knew it was being observed).  The crows went crazy again, just like yesterday -- with much cawing until the cat disappeared onto the Steeber property next door.


  1. A friend here in the Tucson Mountains, Doris Evans, has a motion-triggered camera at her birdbath, and she gets night images of everything short of a mountain lion - I's just so great! Where we are, there's little stuff larger than javelinas, it's just too dry on this side of the mts. But it just rained again.

    1. Two of our neighbors (that we know of) have motion-activated cameras. That would likely get some really interesting shots. Glad you got some more rain. Looks the monsoon is building just to the south of you now.

  2. I miss seeing all that southwestern wildlife from my old place in Anza. AQlthough we did have Mountain Lion come through our property. A coyote caught our little Dachshund when we lived there much to the upset of me and my son who was 9 years old at the time.

    Hey, I need you to replicate my Cyprees germination experiment. It'll be fun, although I want you to try Cuyamaca Cypress. *smile* Actually that desert view scenic overlook is just before you drive up to Julian has Cuyamaca Cypress planted all around there and last I saw before the Cedar fire had spread everywhere. The turnout is Inspiration Point Road.

    On another note: I'll be gone to Silkeborg, Dänemark for a week and back on Monday. I've written an article about the Mesquite Dune Project on Hwy 78 & Hwy 86 Junction. It's one I've had an intereest in for some time, though most folks, including prehaps those who participated in back in the 1990s don't give it much thought. Perhaps we can change that. The post is on my "Earth's Internet" blog which for the most part deals with various mycorrhizal networks, rootsystems and natural phenomena associated with it all. The engineering of it is important to understanding how to restore and maintain landscapes. At least it always has for me when I was a supervisor for such.

    Take care and see you in a week -->> Kevin

    Lessons From a Mesquite Dune Project


    1. I had not heard of Cuyamaca Cypress -- but now I have! We do have some interesting endemics hereabouts.

      I am very familiar with that stretch with the mesquite, and sometimes stop and get out to see what kind of insects of interest might be on them (mesquite being a host for so many different species). I did not know their history. That work would probably have been going on when I was a grad student at SDSU, but I was totally engrossed in my California Gnatcatcher work at the time.

      Have a good trip!

    2. There is an area up on the southwestern side of Cuyamaca Peak which is the headwaters area of King's Creek. This is where the largest known populations of Cuyamaca Cypress which use to be listed as Cupressus stephensonii. However others have come along and created debate about it's actual origins and want it listed as Cupressus arizonica Greene var. or subsp. stephensonii , still more so-called experts have given it at least two other listings. In the mean time the tree is losing it's grip on life as these experts throw mud at each other for naming rights. Unbelievable.

      The tree has struggled from previous fires historically and after that last Cedar fire in 2003, I thought it was a goner in the wild for the most part. However you can google this tree and some have documented through photos young trees in several places. The issue always was before it takes so long to reach age of maturity to produce seed. If yet another fire hits that area in the next couple decades we can kiss it off. That is the situation with most plant species of things in So-Cal. Too many people and much human error work against it's odds for continued existence.

      I remember the California Natcatcher debate for western Riverside county in the 1980s. That was where most of the development was happening or should I say Booming and the ignorance behind the criticism of saving this bird. The first line of strategy with the opponants who BTW are complete imbeciles, is to draw attention to the environmentalist and take the focus on their lack of knowledge of the bird and it's habitat. The reasining is of course if you burdan shift attention then you may have a chane and the facts were it was never about the Evironmentalist movement, it was about an endangered bird. Sadly the bird lives in specific coastal sage scrub and those same areas are prime human habitat to do with as they please. The birds just simply can't move to just any chaparral. When I was growing up in El Cajon CA at the foot of Rattlesnake Mountain, this place was heavily populated with them. Now the Sky Ranch housing development is there and they were forced to set aside large tracts of land for this bird, but I have been up there since and I never saw nor heard the bird there again. That doesn't mean that it's not there. One of the shrubs I saw this bird favouring besides Cal-Buckwheat was California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and if only Cal-Buckwheat was present in pure stands, then it was absent. But Cal-Sagebrush seemed to be a favourite.

      'Oops, sorry for the rant again,



    3. My gnatcatcher study was on the sprawling NAS Miramar, so we were dealing with military types most of the time, and quite a few of them labeled us "environmentalists" (complete with a sneering sort of twang), although "ecologists" would have been more accurate. And then trips to the City of San Diego offices to get maps were similarly greeted with derision when they learned what the maps were for. So much enmity against a tiny bird (because money, power and profits were involved).

      One of the most memorable things that I remember about the birds themselves that we learned was that a supposedly life-time monogamous species was capable of "divorce." In one case we had a pair, both male and female of which were banded, and so easy to track, and at one point the female took up with a young, first-year (black-capless) male just a little further down the wash, and later the jilted male had a new female companion. She walked out on him for a younger guy! And they are amazingly courageous when defending their nest and young. A really charming species.

      Hopefully the Cuyamaca Cypresses will survive, but between human pressures and fires (which are usually also human pressures) the cards may be stacked against them.

    4. Oh, and I would agree with you that a variety of shrubs, including Artemisia, seemed important for them. I documented the shrub species that a given bird was perched on every two minutes in the process of creating range maps.