Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bob's Secret Grotto

Time for another installment of the Bobcat Diaries...

(but then, when isn't it?)

On the east side of the Sierra Nevada, in the Mono Basin, is a small canyon where a creek begins.

spur canyon
Spur canyon at 7,000 feet on east side of Sierra Nevada

spur canyon
Seeps feed the head of a creek in the canyon

While walking along the creek, checking out the seeps that feed it, I noticed two large boulders that had tumbled down from the rim, and formed a bit of a grotto over the creek.

Looking down the slope into the grotto under the boulders

A grotto that was fully shaded, and more than big enough for me to squat down inside.

And thus set a camera trap.

Sitting in the grotto, looking out the main entrance

grotto set grotto
Looking left (with cam trap) and right in boulder grotto

Overall, 9 species were photographed visiting the grotto - 3 birds, 5 mammals, and a herp.

Or, from the bobcat's point of view - 1 predator (Bob), and 8 possible snacks.

You see, much like house cats, bobcats are versatile carnivores that will eat pretty much any small critter they can catch, including rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, mice, rats, squirrels, voles, chipmunks, gophers, fish, frogs... and maybe even a cricket, or moth or two.

An American robin was the first to the scene

bushy-tailed woodrat
But the bushy-tailed woodrat visited the most times

Silvery Bob sauntered in for the first visit at 6:00pm sharp

And casually smelled the rocks and checked the scene before taking a drink




Silvery Bob taking a drink

scrub jay
A western scrub jay also dropped in for a sip

cal ground squirrel
As did a California ground squirrel

deer mouse
A deer mouse came through (below rock on left side of photo)

And a sparrow bathed twice

Bats flew through too - probably hunting insects

Silvery Bob wasn't the only Lynx rufus to use the grotto, though. This more-orange bobcat came in for a sip at the stream as well...

Different bobcat comes in - more orange, different markings



Silvery Bob returned 6 days later for a check in...

Silvery Bob coming back to the grotto for another visit


western fence lizard
Western fence lizard - sometimes they can hold just enough heat to trigger the camera

As a result of their dietary versatility, bobcats help balance the populations of a broad range of small animals, including species that can become pests when too abundant, such as ground squirrels, gophers and voles.

And, you don't have to clean up after them.



  1. Song sparrow?

    I am very impressed by the High Country CA ground squirrel.

  2. What a neat place, and a handsome cat. Nothing like the east slope of our Sierra Nevada!

  3. ...and a fence lizard, no less!

    Excellent camera set.

  4. Wow, great stuff as always! First time seeing a Bushy-tailed Woodrat. Furry tails don't seem very common on most rodents. Btw, stay tuned for some, much worse, images of a fury-tailer from my neck of the woods comming soon ;)

    Those Bobcat photos are awesome. I realy should try to make some time to build another homebrew. (My S600 seems to have stopped shutting down after it takes the first photograph...)

  5. That is a wonderful shot of the bat.

  6. I couldn't find the mouse. I looked and compared prior photo, looked and looked, and then suddenly the mouse jumped right out at me! Now that I've seen all the wonderful visiting critters . . . I would not drink that water without filtering it.

  7. JK - song sparrow is a good call. There are 12 sparrow species on the bird list for the ranch, though.

    Cindy - yes, finding the critter in the pic is often tough. A trick we use when the photos are on the hard drive - flip back and forth between shots to see what changed. Can't really do that on flickr or blogger. As for drinking the water - no need, there's a perfect well near by. :)


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