Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bobcat and Coyote

I got to Guadalupe Oak Grove Park at 4 pm, after birding on two other trails today. The green grass is a wonderful background for the dark oak trees in low light, and the park looks magical. I found the Lions Mane mushroom which grows on the same tree each winter. The squirrels have been eating it again this year. It was so beautiful three years ago when allowed to mature.

I met two park regulars, Richie and Dorothy with their friends, and told them about my web site. Then I looked for the Townsends Warbler I'd seen in the same location earlier in the week.

A woman with a small white Terrier asked me if I'd seen any Coyotes. I told her no, and she walked on. Then I noticed a large male Bobcat heading her way. I watched as she passed the Bobcat, now hiding behind a small bush beside the trail. It was the same large male cat I'd seen some time ago with an unusual curled tail. The cat then dashed out and ran up the hill and under the fence. I was still watching it when a young Coyote appeared on the ridge stalking the Bobcat. They watched each other for a while, then the Bobcat sat down and began grooming, seemingly uninterested. They were nearly the same size. The Coyote looked at me and then the Bobcat, unsure what to do next. They were about 20 feet apart when they disappeared over the ridge and out of sight.

As I was walking down the Quarry tail I heard an unusual sound. As a birder, I always pursue unfamiliar sounds. Finally I found two Red-breasted Sapsuckers, a juvenile and adult female. The juvenile's head was still downy and it was begging for food, all the while making sweet soft mewing sounds. I watched them for 15 minutes and they were never more than a foot apart. I'm always anxious to find the Red-breasted Sapsucker, which return to the park for a short time each fall. What a wonderful finish to a beautiful day.


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