Readers share close encounters

  • Fri Nov 4th, 2011 9:18pm
  • Life

By Sharon Wootton Herald Columnist

Bobcats are more elusive and less-photographed than cougars, but they do cross paths with humans, sometimes in unusual places.

Some of our readers, after a recent column on bobcats, have shared their encounters.

Dave and Sharon Agy live between Snohomish and Monroe. Dave Agy photographed their “resident” bobcat.

“I was lucky that day. I just happened to have my camera with a long lens mounted and good lighting,” Agy said.

The Agys saw the bobcat three times last summer.

“The only other ‘rare’ animal, at least for us, was a small black bear a couple of years ago. It seems he or she was after one or more of our bird feeders,” he said.

Feeders of birds in bear territory, take note:

Dolores Ohls of Woodinville had a close encounter of a different kind.

“I enjoyed your article about the bobcat. A bobcat has been seen in our area for several years. Last fall I observed one carrying a rabbit into the brush.

“I also saw one walking across the back lawn onto my patio. I chased him out of the yard with my broom! What a beautiful animal. Thank you for your columns.”

I have this mental picture of Ohls, armed with a broom, chasing the bobcat. Love it.

Pat Jacobs of Snohomish tells of another encounter:

“I was quite interested in your article on bobcats. Two or three years ago, in the middle of the day, I happened to see a bobcat walk slowly across my neighbor’s driveway and go into the woods.”

That surprise was topped about months ago. Her 13-year-old granddaughter looked out the window and said, “What is that?”

“I turned and looked, and there was a bobcat that I estimated to be about one-third to two-thirds grown. I dashed for my camera and tried to get a picture,” Jacobs said.

But the bobcat heard her coming and went from a stroll to a run into the woods, foiling her attempt. There is a 60-or-so-acre tract of woods south of her neighborhood.

“I went back inside, and shortly after, she called to me again. “There’s another one!’

“Sure enough, there was another bobcat, same size, apparently following much the same path. This time I went out the door quietly and was able to get a picture.

“I went back inside and then a third cat wandered through! It was rather exciting and was surprising to see them in the middle of the day,” Jacobs said.

For the rest of us, it would have been surprising at any hour.

While our readers’ bobcats didn’t vocalize, bobcats do have their own language that includes hissing, spitting, gurgling, yowling, growling, snorting, chattering and even purring.

To hear some of their vocalizations, go to and click on sounds.

Avalanches: It is never too early to be thinking about avalanches. Ridge Explorations is offering a free avalanche-safety clinic at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Feathered Friends, 119 Yale Ave. N., Seattle.

Lost is found: Researchers have discovered the only recorded flight of the legendary imperial woodpecker, the closest relative of the ivory-billed woodpecker, according to a University of Cornell press release.

The imperial’s range was (yes, past tense) was in the high mountains of Mexico.

The 85-second 16 mm film shot in 1956 by an amateur ornithologist shows the 2-foot-tall female imperial woodpecker with the outrageous crest in old-growth forest.

The footage is the last confirmed sighting of the imperial in the wild. To see the film and more of the story, go to

Yes, it’s a little shaky but William Rhein was on the back of a mule when he took it.

Unfortunately, the Cornell Lab or Ornithology sent a team to survey the film site, but there was no evidence of imperial woodpeckers.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or