Friday, February 7, 2014

Point Reyes - Feb 5, 2014

Another February means another trip to Point Reyes.  This was our 3rd multi-day trip overall and the main goal was to photograph Bobcat and Long-tailed Weasel.  We had never failed to see Bobcat on multi-day trips but the only Long-tailed Weasel we had ever spotted was a blur as it shot across a trail and out of sight.

We hoped to do better this time...

This first day was spent cruising up and down Pierce Point Road (PP Road) and the side road to Marshall Beach.  We also stopped to hike at Abbott's Lagoon hoping to find weasel but we had no luck there. We managed to see a coyote around lunch time, but it took us a few hours driving the roads in the afternoon to spot our first Bobcat:

Distant Bobcat

It was a long ways away but we were able to find a small pullout and stakeout the cat.  Eventually, it came closer and started to stalk an unseen rodent in a hole:

Bobcat Stalking

The cat's pounce was low and quick (quite unlike the pounce of a coyote or fox that seem to jump high in the air) and I wasn't able to get one frame mid-pounce.  But, I did capture the cat post pounce reaching deep into the hole to try to grab its prey (too bad there was a stick in the way though):

Bobcat Pouncing - 1

Bobcat Pouncing - 3

Bobcat Pouncing - 4

But the cat came up empty, looked my way as if to say "oh well..." and headed off in the other direction out of sight...

Did you get it?

No luck this time

That was an hour well spent!

With one goal out of the way (although you can never have too many Bobcat pictures...), we headed for the Elk Refuge to see if any were close to the road.  They were...

Tule Elk

Juvenile Tule Elk

It was close to dusk now and we hadn't driven Sir Francis Drake Blvd towards the lighthouse at all.  So, we headed South.  Just as we rounded the corner at Schooner's Bay, we spotted another Bobcat on the side of the road.  It shot quickly off to the right and down to the water.  We pulled off into the pullout and quietly walked to the other side of the road hoping to spot it.  As we peaked over the incline we saw the Bobcat had moved down about 20 yards away but didn't seem bothered by our presence at all.

Bobcat at Schooner Bay

Bobcat at Schooner Bay

These shots were hand held and the light was dimming so I went back to the car to get my tripod.  In the mean time, the cat decided to get up and walk along the water's edge.  We returned to see its reddish rump and hind legs as it walked out of sight into the bushes. 

After dinner, we took a night drive down to the visitor center which is a great place to find Gray Fox.  We ended up seeing three.  One was along the road and two were in the visitor center parking lot.  Spotlighting is illegal in the National Parks and Seashores but we have found that driving really slow around the visitor center parking lot is the next best thing.  Plus, you get to stay warm and there is never anyone else there.

The three fox were a great topping on the two Bobcat day.  We also managed to spot five coyotes but none of the pictures were anything special.

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