By Dan Weisz
I know that many of us in the Foothills see bobcats around our homes often. Others may not see them but they do live peacefully among us. Here is a glimpse of a morning of a family of bobcats in the Tucson area.
After last seeing the bobcats four weeks ago, I had returned to Sweetwater Wetlands eight times in attempts to see them again. Although I never did find them, there were many times that other visitors saw the bobcats on the same day that I visited! This Wednesday I was at Sweetwater for the weekly Tucson Audubon birding trip- my ninth return. At 8:00, as soon as we began and crossed the bridge, someone yelled “bobcat”.
Here’s what I saw:
I scurried around the path to see two bobcats disappearing into the thick brush.
I had to quickly decide: were the cats going to sit and rest at that spot? Were they going to reappear on that same side of the path? Were they going to walk through the brush and emerge onto the other side on another path? I guessed that they would either rest at that spot or reemerge soon on my side of the path. I stopped where I had a view of the entire path on ‘my’ side and waited. No bobcats reappeared. Of course, I soon heard some of the birders on the other side of the brush yell “there go the bobcats”. By the time I got to the other side of the path, this is what I saw:
One cat had passed to the far right and one stopped in the middle of the path, quite a ways ahead of us. (This photo is taken using a zoom lens so you can see how far ahead of us the cat was.)
And then it let us know whose territory this was.
And then it disappeared to the right where the other cat had gone. The birding group turned back and headed towards the first pond. I chose to try to catch up with the bobcats, not knowing exactly where they might have gone. I walked quickly but quietly down the right hand path, hoping to see them cross in front of me. Nope! I turned the corner and looked towards the west on the path. No bobcats. I thought to walk towards the settling ponds and….
There was Momma. She seemed to be watching where one of her young must have gone.
Then she turned back and…
Here comes kitten #2. Under mom’s watchful eyes, the kitten walked under the gate and towards the settling ponds.
Apparently the bobcats are authorized to do this.
After the kitten walked under the gate and disappeared, mom followed.
I was able to do this when I was younger, but not now!
And in no rush, mom sauntered off.
I waited a bit and then moved towards the locked gates. To be continued.