Thursday, January 21, 2016


Bobcat - Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. January 21st, 2016.

Another chilly start to the day provided nice views of two local owls before sunrise - a Great Horned Owl perched on a Utility Pole by the NMH campus on Main Road, and a Barred Owl again on North Cross Road. After dropping Matan at school I headed towards Turner's Falls with the firm intention of checking a couple of spots before heading home to do some work.  A pair of Wood Ducks on the power canal were nice and again there was a fabulous Goldeneye show, including the drake Barrow's Goldeneye,  at Montague City but those sightings would quickly pale when I had a chance encounter with Bobcat on the way home.

 Wood Duck - pair, Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. January 21st, 2016.

Barrow's Goldeneye - male, Montague City, Franklin Co., MA. January 21st, 2016.

I've had quite a bit a luck with seeing Bobcats in the Pioneer Valley over the years but all of them have been brief, and all but one have eluded the camera so imagine how thrilling it was to have a Bobcat casually walk across a snow covered track in front of my car! Unfortunately it dropped straight down into a wooded gully and, despite careful scanning, I thought it was gone. I parked the car in a more sensible spot, got out and started birding as the Bobcat's presence had triggered a 'wall' of bird sound in the woods. A shape in the gully caught my eye. It just didn't look right and in a few splits of a second I realized the Bobcat was 'hiding' just a few feet from me. In fact, it looked so settled and calm that I began to wonder if it was injured. I needn't have worried. Once it became aware that it was being watched, it soon bolted up the opposite side of the gully and headed deep into the snow covered woodland.

Bobcat - Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. January 21st, 2016.

Bobcat - Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. January 21st, 2016. Looking relaxed enough to take a snooze!
Without doubt the outdoors highlight of my year in the Pioneer Valley so far.


Anne Hagman-Niilola said...

Great observation!

neogonzo said...

unbelievable catch !

neogonzo said...

unbelievable catch !

JRandSue said...

What a great sighting and brilliant photos.
Sorry the Florida trip was cancelled, hope to catch up again soon. Sue

James P. Smith said...

Thank you Anne!!

James P. Smith said...

Hi John,

Yes it was a thrilling sighting and I know you would have enjoyed it. It would have been possible to digi-scope it for sure! Yes...really too bad about Florida. It looks like they have a number of classy rarities that would have been right on our tour route. It's a great shame but thanks for trying.

See you soon, hopefully.