Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Finally Saw One!

What an exciting day yesterday was! It started with me getting a new (to me) mountain bike! I am so excited to ride the trails this summer on a full suspension bike. Oooooo, aaaaaaaah! 
 In the afternoon, Kesten, my husband, and I headed up to my favourite trail for a walk. Kesten wanted to get out and explore, so my husband stayed with him and I headed further down the trail to do my own exploring. I wanted to go further than I had been before. Typically when I head up there with my snowshoes, I leave the trail fairly early on to follow animal tracks. This time I wanted to make it right to the gate. About 20 minutes down the trail I had the living daylights startled out of me. A grouse hiding under a tree right beside me decided that s/he better take off, as I might be a threat. I don't know if you have ever experienced this before, but every time it happens to me I jump about a hundred feet in the air and clutch my chest. Luckily I didn't scream this time, or I might have really worried my husband. Nothing shatters the peaceful silence of the woods like the sound of frantically beating wings and underbrush thrashing about. In that brief moment before you realize it is only a grouse, your imagination pictures any number of horrible predators, ready to leap out at your throat. Really, those grouse should take a page from the snowshoe hares and just learn to stay still already. I would probably never notice them if they didn't decide to burst into flight. I guess they just don't trust their camouflage.

From that point on, it seemed that every few feet another grouse was making a mad dash across the trail. I guess I finally found where they were all hanging out this winter. A little further down, I interrupted a male grouse, passionately displaying his fancy feathers to any female who might pay him attention. In his shock at my approach, he froze on the trail, allowing me to capture a couple of photos.
 So fancy. I hope some ladies took notice for his sake.
 Another grouse at the end of the trail, hoping that I didn't see him/her.
 Trying to sneak away unnoticed. Look at those feet! In the fall, Ruffed Grouse grow hair-like projections off the sides of their toes and that help their feet act like snowshoes. No need for those now though, the snow has a hard crust over the surface.
 And now, for the thrill of my life! I turned around at the end of the trail and started to head back to where I had left Kesten and my husband. I was about 15-20 minutes away from where I had last seen them, when I noticed a movement around a bend on the trail up ahead. Thinking that it was my husband coming to find me, I kept heading forward nonchalantly. Hmm, wait, no, that wasn't a man on the trail. It was much lower down. Something on all fours. Grayish. A dog maybe? Nope. A few more steps and I was in full view of a beautiful Canada Lynx standing in the middle of the trail. I froze. Held my breath. The lynx looked over at me and promptly dashed into the woods. In awe and utter amazement, I stood on the trail, frozen, a few seconds longer. Why hadn't I had my camera ready? I was bubbling over with excitement now. I kept walking and passed the spot where the lynx had disappeared into the woods. I looked around to see if it was watching me from off in the bush some where, but no luck. If I wasn't so pregnant, I would have run all the way back to where Kesten and my husband were. I had to manage with a few gleeful skips every couple of feet. I've always wanted to see a lynx in the wild! What luck I had!

Kesten was still happily playing in the snow, pushing his stroller around with my husband right there.
 This boy of mine loves being outside and exploring. Makes my heart so happy to see him enjoying nature.
What a great day it was! I hope you are having a good weekend too!

5 comments:

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  2. Wow that sounds like a wonderful day full of fresh air and beautiful nature! Very cool to see a Lynx up close without incident.
    We've got cougar sightings less than 1km from my house - I really hope I never see it in real life!

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    1. Ya, I hope I never see a cougar either! Unless I'm in a car or something. My mom did a backpacking trip on Vancouver island in her twenties and they heard a cougar scream. That would be so unnerving, especially being a days hike from the road and your car!

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  3. Cool! That's quite the hike! I was so scared while reading it was going to be a cougar or wolf! I guess a lynx could be dangerous too, how neat! The grouse are gorgeous- I have been frightened many a time by them too- they are so quiet and then so fluttery! I love the bike too- I just got one for Christmas and can't wait until the roads de-ice!

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    1. It was definitely a thrill to see! But I don't think there have been any cases of lynx attacking humans. This one took off right away, which is always a good sign!
      Grouse are such funny birds. We had a dead one in our yard this fall. It looks like it must have hit a window or something. Hard to believe it was flying high enough to do that.
      I know, I am so excited to ride my bike. We are getting quite a bit of snow today though, which is slightly disappointing. Oh well, it's not like I can ride until I have this baby anyway!

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