Rosyfinch Ramblings
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November 2011
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White-eyed towhee and green-eyed Lynx rufus
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Birding "Patches"
Posted by: Ken @ 1:03 pm

A couple of days ago, the dew point was high and the air very still when We walked out on the wetlands adjacent to our south Florida home, hoping to get another glimpse of the Bobcats.

A little before sunrise, our patio view of the sky looked ominous.

Storm clouds before sunrise 20111121

Watery pearls festooned the spider silk.

Dew beads on silk 20110204

Tall blades of grass, weighed down by the dew, drooped over the trail.

Dew on grass 3-20111123

Some of my early morning photos had not been as sharp as I expected, and I had an “Aha!” moment when I noticed the fog covering my camera lens. Of course, the camera had spent the night in air-conditioned comfort, and warm, moist air had kissed the cold glass. My microfiber lens cloth came in handy, and I did much better this time.

The first test of the fog-free lens was this Eastern Towhee, which  exhibited the white eyes of the southern subspecies; those migrating here from the north have red eyes.

 Eastern (white-eyed) Towhee 2-20111123

A Common Ground-Dove looked down from a safe perch.

Common Ground-Dove 20111123

A Prairie Warbler brightened up the morning:

Prairie Warbler 2-20111123

Palm Warblers were everywhere.

Palm Warbler 20111123

By the way, we did not see any Bobcats, but we keep trying…

Okay, now that this is officially a “birding” blog, I’ve got to tell what happened THIS morning. Again, we got out early, about 15 minutes before sunrise. When we stopped to check out the usual spot for Bobcats, we immediately saw three, far ahead to the south on the levee path. It was the same adult female with her two half-grown cubs that we have seen several time during the past month. This first photo is heavily cropped, as they were over 100 yards away, walking towards us. The adult is on the right.

Three Bobcats 20111125

Mary Lou left me to continue her walk, knowing I would remain uncommunicative and glued to my camera as long as Bobcats were in sight. I stalked closer to the cats, keeping to the high grass near the edge of the canal, on the left. To my advantage, there was a slight SE breeze in my face. At first the cubs appeared to be playing, but they eventually moved into the brush on the left side of the path while the adult kept watch over them with her back to me.

Two cubs move left 20111125

Adult watches cubs in brush 20111125

I walked a few steps and then took a shot. Since the power of my 420 mm lens system is equivalent to 8X binoculars, each step brought me (optically) about 16 feet nearer to the cats. I reached a point about 40 yards from the adult, then moved out into the path to get a clear shot. She was intent on watching the cubs, so I moved a bit nearer. Suddenly she turned and saw me, and began watching me intently.

Adult sees me 20111125

Adult watches me intently 20111125

She stood up and then walked diagonally in my direction before rather purposefully disappearing into the brush while continuing towards me. A House Wren began chattering near her position. Then I heard the wren, or another, begin scolding more to my right.

Adult stands up 20111125

Adult moves to right side 20111125

Adult walks towards me 20111125

In the meantime, the larger cub had emerged onto the trail and was sitting on the path just staring in my direction.

Larger cub emerges 20111125

The cub finally began to look alarmed and ran off into the high grasses of the expansive wetlands to the right.  Meanwhile, the chattering of the wren started coming from just alongside me, then moved a bit behind me to my right. I assumed it meant that the parent Bobcat was checking me out, but I could not see or hear any sign of her. If she had been a panther, I would have been very anxious about coming between her and the cubs. Then, the second, smaller of the two cubs startled me by walking out only about 25-30 feet in front of me.

Smaller cub walks towards me 20111125

The smaller cub looked back towards where its larger litter-mate had disappeared into the brush.

Smaller cub looks back toward larger cub's location 20111125

At first it walked slowly towards me. For a while it seemed to be looking past me.

Smaller cub is alarmed 20111125

I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I turned my head to see if the mother had moved on to the path behind me, but I did not see her. My movement scared the cub and it twitched its tail before running off.

Smaller cub ready to run 20111125

Smaller cub flees 20111125