Sunday, March 02, 2008


Willow Pond Nature Trail (aka “The Willows”) is a small patch of woods that reside just past Sea Rim State Park in Sabine Pass, TX. A nice boardwalk traverses through salt cedars (tamarisk), large clusters of reed, willow and mulberry trees that grow there. I stop here each time I’m up this way especially during spring and fall migration since it is an effective migrant trap. On this day I had stopped off to acquire a photograph of a “toothache tree” (Hercules Club) for a future blog post. As I arrived at the area on the boardwalk near the toothache tree I stopped to set my camera for the photo when my peripheral vision picked up on some movement. As I slowly looked up I could see something walking leisurely on the opposite side of the tree. Moments later coming into view was a bobcat.
I was aware of a bobcat lurking in this area as describe in a prior blog entry (December 2005- A Cat in the Reeds) so each time I visit here I’m on the lookout. Other evidence includes large latrine areas I’ve come across on the boardwalk consisting of fur laden scat. At first it acted as if it had no idea I was there. Having the wind blowing at its back and into my face kept my scent from its keen nose. I could feel my heart in my throat as I fumbled with my camera only thinking of getting “the shot”. Slowly I began to kneel down for a photo when it detected my movement and froze. Its eyes were locked on mine as it tried to figure out what I was as we both stood still as statues waiting for the other to make the next move. Gradually it began to lower itself to the ground slowly taking one step at a time in my direction, and then I realized…….I was being stalked.
I took a photo through the limbs of the tree as it continued towards me getting closer and closer. Off in the distance I could here an approaching vehicle and as it passed us it spooked the cat and it fled towards the boardwalk and dove beneath it about five yards in front of me. It sat quietly watching for it to reappear, but just like in the past it simply vanished without a sound. I stayed in the area for another hour without seeing it again. My theory is that it uses the boardwalk area for shelter and hunts for rabbits, rodents and whatever else in the surrounding open fields. I came across several areas where the reeds had fallen up against the boardwalk creating a “walled” area beneath that would be perfect for holing up in. I will be looking closely at this area to find a suitable spot for a camera trap in which I’ll bait with sardines, lures (bobcat urine, catnip) and utilize the FurFindr. I’ve got a good feeling that this area will indeed get results. One final note- look closely at its left ear and you’ll notice that it is notched which will aid in my identifying it in the future. Anyone have any ideas for a name??

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