Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Lynx Family and the Deepfreeze

You know you'll see the darnedest things when you don't have a camera. Today while out and about I spotted a female lynx crossing the trail with a young kitten in tow. I stopped to watch as sightings of these reclusive creatures are unusual- particularly in daylight. In my years in Alaska, I've only seen a relative handful compared to other creatures I've observed. As I watched these thoughtful predators, the mother lynx turned and looked behind her and three more kittens (likely in the 6 month range) emerged from the brush and followed her across the trail into the dense brush on the other side. A total of 1 large female and 4 half grown kittens.

I pondered a moment about the sighting because lynx are normally reclusive in the extreme and tend to avoid humans and I was very close to my home. The skies had cleared back the last couple of nights and the temperatures had plummeted to the -30F's. I had -36F on the thermometer yesterday morning and I can only guess that the deep cold has got the creatures moving during warmer daylight hours hunting hares and grouse during the "heat" of the day. Whatever the reason the lynx family was certainly an unexpected treat.
Note: the photo is a file photo from Wikipedia. Well, because I did not have a camera. Dooh!


Holly Heyser said...

What a great sighting!

The only cat I've seen in the wild was a mountain lion - at 20 yards - which explained all the spastic deer we'd seen moments earlier.

I'd love to see a lynx. Of course, if it meant I had to go out when it was in the -30s, I might be satisfied with the Wikipedia picture...

David Cronenwett said...

Hey Mike,

Great stuff; I've never actually seen a lynx though have cut plenty of sign down here. I think its cool that we have that Boreal-Arctic-Ice Age creature in Montana, Alaska and around the Northern Hemisphere. Its another way we're all linked up in the the North.

Great writing as usual. Talk more soon. Best,

Keith said...

A lucky sighting. I had a couple of Dingos follow me once through the scrub, they were just behindme, quite close, may 15 paces. And yes of course no camera!
Regards, Le loup.