Look who showed up at the door for dinner…
It would seem that my backyard has become quite the bobcat crossing – this collection of clips is just from the past few weeks:
Perhaps these are those same bobcat siblings I spied as youngsters playing in the yard a few years ago.
I noticed a curious thing on the Tahoe house front camera after a recent snowfall: first a pristine layer of snow across the driveway and then, a little later, a set of tracks across the driveway and *directly* under the camera….. but no recording of the creature that left them. This camera triggers a recording every time a passing car’s headlights even just illuminates the driveway and yet… no recording of the mysterious creature. Spooky!
Now given the size and shape of the footprints, and how they lead under the front porch, there can be only one conclusion: it was a visit by the ghost bear!!
Video from my front camera at the Tahoe house early yesterday morning catches a bear checking the car doors of both Mark and Lindsay’s cars in the driveway. Unfortunately my video stops short of showing how they try to pull on the door handles. Lindsay noticed somebody’s car down the street appeared to have been opened up and searched by a bear that morning. Matt went out the previous morning to find both of his passenger side doors wide open but nothing ransacked. Last year, Troy found all four doors of his extended cab pickup truck open in the driveway with dirty paw prints over everything. Looks like even if you don’t leave any food or trash in your car, this bear goes around checking for unlocked doors!
And on a related note, the Placer County Sheriff recently helped this crying cub bear get out of a trash dumpster:
I heard a strange, low moaning/growl from the scrub behind the house. It definitely got Pan and Hera’s attention. It sounded like a noise a calf might make – but when I waited around to see if whatever it was would emerge, it turned out to be a pair of juvenile bobcats growling at each other:
I’ve had a few chances to try using my drone to track the coyotes that are often in the neighborhood. They don’t seem too disturbed by the Mavic but I keep it back aways and zoom in and crop to get some decent footage. One of them even came running over to investigate when I had it hovering some 20 ft off the ground in the nearby field:
Every year the frogs seem to die off (or get eaten) sometime in the summer but every year there’s another big batch of them in the tiny little pond out front. And good grief, they’re loud!
Somebody’s been eating my newly planted flowers in my front yard. I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was, but for fun I moved my motion-activated camera to the front yard, near the house, to see what I might find. Well, it took only a couple of nights to catch a whole range of suspects prowling my yard.
I knew there were a couple of rabbits that have taken up residence beneath some of the tall grasses near the house since I sometimes see them out and about in the mornings. And not surprising to see the coyotes trying to find the rabbits. But it was a surprise to see a bobcat has been trying to catch the bunnies in the yard too. And of course I also caught the true culprits who’ve been eating my flowers! I’ve now installed a motion-activated light and noise-maker now so perhaps the flowers will recover.
I noticed Pan looking out the window intently this morning… presumably watching the wild rabbits in the front yard again. But no, it was somebody else looking for the bunnies today! Grabbed a little video, set to the tune of some classic cartoon music from Warner Brothers:
I bought one of those motion-sensing wildlife “game” cameras and have been trying it in different spots around my property here in the hills near Santa Cruz. Not so many lions and tigers and bears, but lots of deer and coyotes, the occasional raccoon and squirrel, but also caught a bobcat and a couple of bucks sparring in just the past month:
More local Santa Cruz wildlife:
I often see or hear coyotes near my house but yesterday I happened to catch these two come snooping up the driveway into my front yard, presumably looking for mice and rabbits… and kitties. (See that, Pan and Hera? You better be good or the coyotes will get you!!)
Coyotes in the Yard (80 seconds, 24 MB)
I should know better than to just ignore Pan when I see he’s staring out the window. The second time I walked by I stopped to look and… oh, hey! There’s another bobcat – and it’s in the front yard this time! Or maybe it’s the same one I keep seeing in the open space behind my house. Anyway, by the time I ran upstairs to get the camera, he was following the driveway out of the front yard, but not before stopping to mark his territory. It was dusk and getting dark, but I boosted the video a bit:
I went outside to say hi but he wasn’t interested in chatting. Presumably he’s looking for the rabbits I sometimes see – or maybe the field mice that escape Pan’s fenced off domain. I followed him down the driveway a bit, scaring off the deer, before he disappeared into the brush.
I had another bobcat visit/sighting this morning at my home in the hills above Santa Cruz — and once again a deer drove it off:
This little guy was not having a good day. Presumably one of my cats caught him last night. I saw his tiny dark form on the porch last night when I let Pan and Hera in, but I assumed it was the remains of another mouse for me to clean up later.
I was surprised in the morning to discover it was a little bat and that he was still alive — squirming occasionally on his back. I got some cardboard to turn him over and he shrieked a bit but still laid there. He clearly wasn’t feeling too great. Rather than let Pan and Hera mess with him, I decided to carry him into the front yard. He squealed a bit and started hissing and showing his teeth. That explains why Pan gave his little form such a wide berth coming in last night — I thought it odd at the time.
Anyway, I carried him into the front yard where the cats couldn’t get him, but of course there are plenty of birds…. And yeah, just an hour or so later I saw several large birds around where I had left him and went over to find him curled up, no longer moving and… covered in ants. Yeah, wasn’t a good day for the bat.