Sunday, February 26, 2012

My First Bobcat Pictures!

So as I mentioned in a recent post, I saw my first wolf and my first bobcat within an hour of each other last week. My husband tried to convince me that since it was the day after Valentine's, he'd arranged it all as a gift.

We were walking the dogs back to the van half an hour after seeing the wolf and I realized that the reason a big group of ravens was hanging around going kind of crazy (flying around and calling out) was because of a dead elk.

Since the wolf had been walking in the direction of the elk carcass, I figured he might be heading that way for a meal. So we took the dogs home and I returned in my van, ready for action.

I parked my van on the trail and felt safe enough because there was at least 100 feet of dense bush between me and the elk. The only problem was, I couldn't get a clear shot over the bushes so I opened my van door and stood on the chassis, propped my foot on the open door, and had a look through my lens. That's when I realized there was a bobcat there!  I've never seen one before but they're pretty recognizable.

After half an hour or so I saw the bobcat looking up into the woods nearby and lo and behold, another much bigger bobcat shows up! I later Googled for information about bobcats...I figure the second cat on the scene was the mother because they usually stay with their young until the following spring when the bobcats go their separate ways. Mom's stomach was already pretty huge from eating but she helped herself to more. I won't show you the pictures of the younger bobcat or the two of them together because a) they're kind of gross with the elk carcass there and b) both cats were behind bushes so the shots aren't at all good. I was having a hard enough time getting clear shots anyway because of my precarious position standing on the chassis and the weather was getting increasingly dismal.

Anyway, eventually the younger bobcat wandered off into the nearby forest. After eating for awhile, mom started marking her territory by pawing at the ground continually. She sent the turf flying time and time again and kept it up for about 20 minutes before disappearing into the woods. Here's a shot I got of her before she disappeared though.

I waited around for about an hour but neither bobcat returned so I went home to grab some lunch. I drove back an hour later and found a slightly better spot to park. I had a look through my lens and didn't see anything so I walked around a bit, making sure that I wasn't missing any choice locations to shoot from. When I returned to my van I had another look and realized a bobcat was there and most likely had been there all along. They're very well-camouflaged, in case you didn't notice!

Bobcat Photo

This time the bobcat didn't seem to be interested in eating at all, only in pawing at the ground, marking her territory. Once in awhile she'd look directly at me.

Overall, though, she didn't seem the least concerned with my presence. In fact, I'd noticed as I drove up to the spot that one of my wheels was making an incredibly loud racket...I think there was a rock caught somewhere. In any case, it didn't seem to bother the bobcat in the least.

Eventually the bobcat was satisfied that she'd marked her territory. She climbed up onto a log and struck a pose.

Bobcat Striking a Pose

Then she trotted off into the woods very casually but not before gazing at me for a few seconds from behind a bush. I waited an hour or so but she never reappeared. All in all I'd had at least an hour's time in the company of bobcats.

The next day I was back, bright and early. Well, I shouldn't say "bright" because it was raining. To my complete shock, I saw that the entire elk had been devoured down to the ribs, which had been dragged about 25 feet away from where the body had been the day before. I think I can make a pretty safe assumption that a wolf pack had feasted on the elk overnight.

I immediately spotted the bobcat pacing around, pawing at the ground again. She spent about 20 minutes doing that and barely gave me any notice at all.

It was raining pretty steadily by that time. To my surprise, the bobcat climbed onto the fallen log and sat there for about five minutes in the falling rain. And I thought cats hated the rain!

Here she is apparently making sure that I was suitably impressed by her beauty. I was!

Fat and Sassy Bobcat Looking at Me

Eventually she climbed down from the log and gave me one last look before leaving.

Picture of Bobcat Watching Me

I again waited for at least an hour for her to return but she was a no-show. There was no food left, so no reason for her to come back, I suppose. But I kept hoping. Because you know what? Watching bobcats is kind of addictive!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

60% off on Canvas Prints at Zazzle

If you're in the market for a canvas print, now's a good time to go shopping. Zazzle, the print-on-demand company that I use, is having a 60% off sale on canvas prints this weekend only.

There's a lot of artwork to choose from besides my photography though. There are some truly amazing artists with shops on Zazzle so why don't you have a look? Or maybe you have a photograph or artwork that you've always wanted to have made into a canvas print...if that's the case, you can upload your own work and have it printed and still get the discount.

Use the code "CANVASDEAL60" at checkout to get your 60% off on canvas prints this weekend only!

Here's a photo of a Blue-Grey Tanager posing on a palm tree that I just uploaded to Zazzle. I took the picture last year in Costa Rica. Click on the picture to be taken to the canvas print of this photo.

Of course there are all kinds of photo products at Zazzle besides canvas prints, so check it out!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My First Wild Wolf Photos

I got my first wild wolf photos last week. It happened the day after Valentine's so my husband tried to convince me that he'd arranged it all as a gift. He'd seen wolves three times before and here was me, the nature photographer with my big ol' lens, with not a single wolf sighting. I had seen their big pawprints before and I'd seen their scat (at least I'm pretty sure it was wolf scat and not from a coyote...coyotes are quite a bit smaller so need I say more?) Speaking of coyotes, I hardly ever see them anymore and I think it's because wolves have moved into the area and are pushing them out.

Anyway, here's the story...I was walking the dogs with my husband and we were coming to where he saw a wolf pack a couple of years ago. He suggested we have a look around the bend before turning back. So we rounded the bend and lo and behold there's a black wolf loping towards us! I noticed he had a slight limp. He was way down the trail and for some reason he didn't even notice us. Luckily the dogs didn't see him because the vegetation was too high. It was lucky because one of our dogs is a big barker and she would've definitely blown any chance I had at a good shot of the wolf.

I took a few quick shots. Here's the only one that wasn't blurry. He was still pretty far away...I've cropped this picture down a little, by the way.

Black Wolf

I could tell that my view of him would be blocked by that bush you can see on the lefthand side of the photo, and I also knew that my dog would start barking once she spotted him. So I tossed Osa's leash to my husband and he held onto both dogs. Then I climbed onto a little rise so that I could be ready to take his picture when he rounded the corner and got clear of the bushes.

My heart was beating pretty wildly while I waited for him to round the was probably only a few seconds but it felt like a lot longer! The second he came around the bend he spotted me. I only had time to get this shot of him standing there in surprise before he trotted across the field about 150 feet into the woods. This picture is cropped, by the way.

I could see that he had beautiful grey markings on the backs of his legs as well as the markings you can see on his face and chest.

Four days later, the same wolf (I'm 95% sure) ran across the highway in front of us as we were driving home from the same area.

And here's the most amazing part...I've never seen a wolf in the wild before. I've never seen a bobcat before either. But within one hour that morning, I saw a wolf and two bobcats!

I'll save the bobcat story and pictures for my next post. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Published in Canadian Geographic Magazine

One of my photographs has been published in "Best Wildlife Pictures 2012", a collector's edition of Canadian Geographic magazine. This special edition has been on the shelves since October and apparently is still available. I forgot to do some bragging about it earlier!

The magazine (which is almost more like a book due to lack of advertising) shows off the impressive talent of my fellow Canadian nature photographers. I felt very honoured to be included.

Here's the picture that was published, which introduces a section about animals and water.

Here's the story behind the photograph... I'd seen four deer (two older fawns and two adults) visit the creek a couple of days in a row. They were after the crab apples that grew by the creek. The ravens and crows were feasting on the apples but would knock part of their bounty down into the creek. 

So I waited on the boardwalk overlooking the creek and sure enough, this fawn made an appearance. He sauntered towards me, pretty much oblivious to my presence, seemingly entranced by the possibility of some fine crab apples. I had to actually back up to take the photograph. In the picture you can see a couple of huge big-leaf maple leaves, which makes this picture all the more case you didn't know, our flag has a maple leaf on it.

For anyone who enjoys nature photographs, or for you aspiring photographers out there, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of "Best Wildlife Pictures 2012". I guarantee you'll love it!