Last weekend Jo, my wife and I visited one of our favorite wildlife wetland areas in South Florida called Green Cay. It’s part of the Palm Beach County water and utility commission system for reclaiming water and is a beautiful place to visit. Over the past three or four years we have seen and heard about the Bobcats at the Cay. We have seen cat shadows as we head to the parking lot at night after a long day of photography but we haven’t really seen the cats in daylight where I could get a couple of shots.
Saturday we decided to enjoy an extended time in the wetland so we casually walked the mile and a half boardwalk watching and photographing many birds including some neat shots of an American Bittern hunting near the East pool and saw a Harrier Hawk diving for food.
At dusk I like to position myself in a particular place ready to capture what are usually fantastic sunsets in front of a favorite tree snag usually a resting spot to large perching birds, I’ll add that picture to the on-line blog after this is published so come check it out later. Some evenings I capture Spoonbills or Egrets, tonight is was a Woody (Wood Stork). I was able to capture some very nice sunset shots as the sun slid itself behind the palm trees across the pond.
From the snag there is still about a half mile left in the trail so I normally keep my long lens available for when something pops up that can be photographed even in low light.
This day we were greeted in a dark tunnel like area of the Cyprus Wood by a group of excited onlookers. To our amazement one of the Bobcat kittens was hunched at the foot of a tree waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting Coot, Heron or screaming bystander.
The sun was down and it was actually getting very dark as we peered into the floor of the Cyprus Wood to see this face looking back at us.
First this red-nosed feline stared at Jo, my wife. Then he turned to me.
It was so dark I didn’t know if the pictures would come out, and some were way to blurry to show but these two shots are breathtaking. I was shooting with my 500mm lens but it was not cranked to the end, in fact we were almost too close to get a focus. I was actually laying on the wooden deck to get as face-on a shot as possible. After a couple clicks of my camera, Canon 5D MIII, in low light mode and after a couple screams from a lady petrified that this cat was going to bound over the boardwalk rails to eat her, Bobby, as I’ve nicknamed him, pulled his paw back and took off around the tree.
Many years ago I had the pleasure of having a couple of half bobcat, half domestic cats as pets so I certainly understood the power of those back legs as they took the cat in an opposite direction. I’ve seen a bobcat jump 10 feet straight up to land on a roof and I’ve felt the sharp claws of the cats we had, I know what scars they can leave. But it was great to finally get close enough to a fine Bobcat in the Cay to be able to capture a couple very neat shots like these.
I hope you enjoy the shots too.
Wow!! Great shots, JM!! Makes me anxious to get back up to GC soon! Thanks for sharing!
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