Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bobcat at Mt Pisgah

Janet writes: Bob Z. and I spent yesterday morning in the northern
portion of Mt. Pisgah. We soon picked up a trail of roundish tracks in
a wetland, which we initially thought were gray fox. However, we soon
began to notice more classic feline characteristics, upon entering the
woods where snow conditions were slightly different. Many tracks
remained obscure, and occasional ones still showed an X, but there were
plenty of real beauties, like the one above.

We stayed with the trail for about 3/4 of a mile, found 4 classic scent
posts, all with a strong cat urine smell, where the cat backed up and
sprayed, or just paused to sniff and enjoy the scent of his/her past
spritzing. The one above was particularly interesting, because the
smell was just beneath that overhanging flap of bark.

For a short stretch (less than a quarter mile), small fisher tracks
followed the bobcat trail, occasionally veering off to explore this or
that stump, in typical fisher fashion, but quickly returning to the cat

I've seen different predator species follow each other's tracks many
times, and it's a little puzzling when they use totally different gaits,
and therefore are clearly not following in order to take advantage of
broken snow. I wonder if they are thinking something like, "hey, maybe
I'll find that cat's cached kill if I stick with this trail".

This begs the question of whether we were seeing gray fox and bobcat
stepping in the same tracks. Possibly, but we never saw the trail
divide into separate cat and canine, and never smelled fox. And it
sometimes kept up a stride that seemed too long for gray fox.

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