Sunday, June 6, 2010

small world, big cats

Siberian linx
Felinae linx

We had a surprisingly interesting day simply walking about town to loosen up Mr. Trail Runner's post-marathon legs (he came in 7 minutes earlier than last year's Nisene Marks Marathon). We ran into several people we know, including my doctor who was kind enough to stop and chat a bit while we were having lunch. I sometimes forget what a small world we live in.

Cannery Row had its annual block party today and included this booth pictured above. I had to look up their website to figure out which cat this was. I initially heard bobcat, but Mr. Trail Runner said the ones he's seen on local trails are more grey and have shorter tails. On my wish list for Nature ID is to post a bobcat. I'll pass on taking a pic of a mountain lion in situ, because it may be the last thing I do!

I have mixed feelings about why wild cats are so often kept in captivity. Back in 2003, I stayed at a big cat refuge in Arkansas while visiting a friend and her sister who worked there. Following are a few pictures from that visit:

One last thing, here's a link to Christian the lion video. Apparently, no matter what species, we all like to see old friends.

It was a good day.

ps 07/03/10 - For an excellent post on a backyard bobcat, see Tree in the Door's Fauna and Flora.

pss 01/18/11 - For four more posts of interest:

CA sea lion ~ 06/06/10 ~ Coast Guard Pier

California sea lion
Zalophus californianus

There's nothing like a newborn to make you say "Oh my, how cute!" Mother and pup appeared to be exhausted from the birthing experience. However, she did manage to aggressively attack several males to get them to move off nearby rocks. After a big wave washed the baby into the water, she grabbed it with her mouth and tossed him back into the water on the other side of the rock. It took her a while, but she finally moved her baby up to another, higher rock. She was still bleeding from the birth. After about half an hour, the newborn was finally able to nurse. Maybe this one will survive longer than 24 hours.

This is the second sea lion birth I've witnessed in the past 2 weeks. Click here to read my ps note from May 24, 2010 of my first sighting. For those that may not know, sea lion birthing in Monterey is extremely unusual. Usually, sea lions have their pups further south. For a local news video, check out KTVU's recent coverage.

ps 06/07/10 - I have dozens of other photos, but the amount of blood was off-putting even for me. I again heard back from the Marine Mammal Center after asking if they wanted to know this kind of information and how to report dead sea lion bodies. Due to the number of pups that have been born here this year, NOAA has deemed this area a temporary rookery, making it a protected place for mom and pup sea lions. Interesting.

pss 06/14/10 - By Saturday (06/12/10), we noticed most of the sea lions had moved off the rocks along the Rec Trail in Monterey and were crowded onto a small, sandy beach next to the Fisherman's Wharf. Only the weekend before (the date of the photos above), we saw the sea lions covering every rock surface available and were not on the beach - it makes me wonder if anyone from the wharf was deterring the sea lions from establishing themselves on the small spot of sand. By Sunday (06/13/10), sure enough, there were posted signs that sea lions are a federally protected species and to keep a safe distance. Today (Monday), I noticed a significant decrease in the number of sea lions from the Coast Guard Pier to Fisherman's Wharf. I wonder if they've started heading out to wherever they go this time of year. Contrary to what I said previously, I think the total number of sea lions in the area exceeded those of last year.  For additional photos, photographer and friend Greg Magee also captured a mother tossing her baby a couple weeks earlier on May 26, 2010.