It's been a good year for me for bobcat sightings. First there was the kitten that I followed into a field, where its camoflauge was so perfect that even when it was right at my feet I couldn't barely see it in the long dry grass. That was in February. I've a couple of other encounters also.
Maria Owl and I were walking in Annadel when we came across a bobcat by the side of the trail. He was perhaps 40 feet from the trail, hanging around on a rock. He watched us watch him, and tolerated me taking multiple photos of him. At one point he licked his paws then moved casually through the grass to another rock.
As we watched other people came along the trail. They stopped for a moment or two, perhaps snapping a photo on their cell phones, then taking off on foot or bike. I realized that I was so excited about the photo op that I was forgetting to simply be present. Maria stood down the trail away, a blissful smile on her face, saying softly, "Thank you, thank you." I set the camera aside. The bobcat stayed put. After five minutes or so we moved on.
Early May: the forget-me-nots are at their peak. As I wander in Cooper's Grove I come across a bare area in the dirt, about a yard on each side. I look closely and it appears that soil has been packed by deer hooves. A mystery...for a few moments. When I wander a bit farther I see a spotted fawn, slowly taking what must be among its first steps. When I approach, it hears me (it doesn't appear to see too well) and lays down, holding perfectly still.
I have heard that while they have spots fawns have no scent that attracts predators. Their mothers range for hours, foraging and then coming back to feed and tend to the young ones. While they are away the defense of the fawn is simply to hold very still, be very quiet, to sleep and wait. By the time their spots fade and their bodies are creating scent they are big enough to run and to have a fair chance against predators.
My friend Scott Davidson, an expert tracker and very skillful mentor and guide, told me he found two fawns by his sit spot. He wondered aloud, "How many people find fawns while their moms are away and assume they have been abandoned, and perhaps interfere?"
Photo taken on Mt. Tam, during a Plant Spirit Medicine workshop with Maria Owl Gutierrez. Background texture generously supplied by the Pacific Ocean.
I've found several of these in Cooper's Grove lately. In my field guide to nests I learn that Turkeys nest on the ground. I'm guessing I've walked right past several nests in my explorations of the grove, and that they are very well camouflaged, in the way of natural things.
I made a point of carefully exploring the area to see if I could find any nests. I could not. Turkey feathers, yes; but they are abundant in the neighborhood.
Someone made a meal of this egg. They left it on a well-travelled foot trail, which suggests to me that it was a mammal, not another bird species. There are many foxes in the neighborhood. So Fox is currently suspect #1, until other evidence arises to suggest differently.
This time of year the oaks are in a particularly beautiful phase: they have new foliage to brighten things up, but not yet enough to completely obscure the structure of their limbs. This photo is taken toward the end of this phase. I wonder if naturalists or botanists have a name for this time of transition, very much a season in the life of the tree.
Miner's Lettuce is prime at the end of March. Forget me nots are approaching their prime... this photo on the edge of Cooper's Grove.
Amos Clifford, Guide and Restorative Council Mentor; trainer in restorative justice, restorative dialogue with nature, and circle-keeping and the way of council; mentor.