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Laguna Beach

 Volume 11, Issue 76  | September 20, 2019


During Discovery Hike, John Foley of LCF finally gets spectacular photograph of elusive bobcat 

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

John Foley, a volunteer for Laguna Canyon Foundation (LCF), has contributed many wonderful photographs to Stu News during the past year. Recently, Foley finally got the shot he’s been searching for – a spectacular bobcat. He’s been on the prowl for this photo opportunity for a long time.

Foley says, “I had gotten pictures of a profile of a bobcat streaking by hundreds of yards in front of me, and a couple of shots of a bobcat’s “back-end” (I’ll use the nice word) heading up a trail, but never the shot that I really wanted.” 

During Discovery bobcat

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by John Foley, LCF

Bobcat appears to pose for the camera

 “Well, I was finally rewarded with the shot that I had spent over three years looking for on a Discovery Hike on Sept 26 of last year. This beautiful bobcat was very accommodating and came to within about 100 feet. (Paula Olson, Outreach Director at LCF, got a picture of him taking the picture of the bobcat.) 

During Discovery John

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Paula Olson, LCF

Paula Olson of LCF takes photo of John Foley

Foley continues, “You can see how close the bobcat was. She walked around a bit, sat down, scratched, let us take as many pictures as we wanted and finally sauntered off leaving us with a huge smile knowing that we just had a rare and incredible experience. This was a truly unique Discovery Hike that day, in that we got numerous pictures of deer and a big buck as well. Now, I am on to photographing other rare sightings in the park. I hear that there is an elusive and rarely seen grey fox out there that I ‘must’ get a picture of.”

During Discovery one deer

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by John Foley, LCF

A deer also poses for Foley

Foley says, “They have had bobcat sighting reports several times in the area where I took this picture. A couple of my fellow docents even mentioned that they had seen a bobcat around here. My earlier bobcat picture on Alwut Trail (January 2018 –published last year in Stu News) was about one-half mile from this location. I actually got a video of a bobcat (much bigger male) about one-fourth mile from this location. 

“He was seen multiple times…there have also been numerous bobcat sightings down by the water treatment plant at the end of the Aliso Creek paved road. I have taken my camera and spent a lot of time at all of these locations, but the areas in the immediate vicinity of the corral along Wood Canyon Trail have been my only successful sightings. Bobcats can have a territory of five square miles and live 10 years, so I am certain that some of these sightings are the same cat.”

During Discovery buck

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by John Foley

Buck spotted on the same day as the bobcat – Sept 26, 2018

Other facts about bobcats

Male bobcats are slightly larger and heavier than females. Most adult males weigh 20 to 22 pounds, while females average 18 to 19 pounds. Male bobcats do not breed as a rule until they are nearly two years old. Juvenile females are capable of breeding in their first year of life. Litter sizes are usually one to four, with three being the average litter.

Breeding normally takes place during February or March. Some female bobcats will raise two litters in a single year, and late born young often stay with the mother throughout the winter. Breeding times can vary a great deal, and bobcats might be born in any month of the year. Male bobcats are driven away after breeding, and the males seek other females. Females raise litters alone, which require that they leave the young unattended to hunt.

Underground dens in rocky places are usually selected as first choices for natal dens. If these are not available, the female bobcat can choose a hollow tree, or the underground den of another species as bobcats do not dig their own dens.

Bobcats rely on rabbit population

Bobcats are dependent upon rabbits in all areas, and their population densities often follow the cyclic densities of these rodents. Significant mortalities occur when there are few rabbits for the young bobcats to prey upon.

A surprising fact: Bobcats do not fear the water as much as other cat species. Bobcats commonly wade and swim, and many bobcats do not hesitate to attack a beaver in shallow water. 

So, if you’re on a quest to see a deer or bobcat, spring is coming and the trails await. Join Foley in his quest for the grey fox. 

The LCF Discovery Hike is every other Wednesday. For more information, go to www.lagunacanyon.org/events/.

To view a video from Foley discussing the importance of the wildlife corridor for bobcats and other wildlife, go to https://youtu.be/w9xHEaUREPQ.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

Scott Brashier is our photographer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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