Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mountains on a Fall Morning

Fall is here.  No, we don't have biting cold weather or crimson leaves lining our streets.   But, we have the San Gabriel Mountains.  It is a constant in the San Gabriel Valley -- always the backdrop of the mountains.    And, early on an October morning, the air a cool low-60's, sometimes the clouds will bank against the mountains and mingle with the sun to frame a wonderful mountain vista.   The photo above was taken driving north on New York Avenue, just above Sierra Madre Blvd.     Photo by my favorite photographer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bobcats and Rabbits

 I was surprised early today to see this bobcat.  It may be the same one I saw in June, or possibly a different one.  Either way, I watched as this cat walked the very same route as the one in June --  across our yard, jumped up on the fence and then disappeared into the neighbor's yard.   I got a better look this morning and these truly are beautiful animals.    There is an excellent up close photo of a local bobcat at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center site.

Here's a diagram from the National Park's Santa Monica Mountains site showing the relative size and color differences of a mountain lion, bobcat and house cat:

As you can see from the photo, bobcats are about twice the size of domestic cats and much smaller than mountain lions.  Here are some interesting area bobcat facts courtesy of the Santa Monica Mountains site and Urban Carnivores:  

Bobcats are found through out the continental US, most of Mexico and some of southern Canada.  The average bobcat tips the scales at about 18 pounds.   They are primarily nocturnal and the best times to see them are early morning or dusk.    Bobcats are solitary and territorial with males marking a territory of about 3 square miles and females with territories of 1.5 square miles that overlap with males' territories.   For reference, a square mile is 640 acres, so these cats cover a lot of ground.   Bobcats are adaptable and can live on the urban edge, provided they find food.

Which brings us to the bobcat diet.   They're carnivores and eat the prey they catch.    That prey can be birds, lizards, squirrels, gophers, rats, or any small animal.   But, the primary prey and primary food for bobcats are rabbits.   Perhaps not so coincidentally, just this summer I have started seeing more and more rabbits scurrying about the neighborhood, including this one: