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A bobcat appears fleetingly at base of Wildcat Mountain

The Big Picture
Shared by Lawrence Emerson
August 4, 2016
Like 16 0
By Lawrence Emerson

I love living in the country for a variety of reasons — abundant wildlife ranking high among them.

On the drive to work this morning, something flashed in front of my truck near the farm road’s end, just 100 yards from Route 17.

“Bobcat!” I said immediately.

I grabbed my camera and fired off 11 frames — none of them great — before she (I think) ducked into the distant underbrush along a neighbor’s driveway.

In almost six decades on this planet, all but seven months of it in Fauquier and the Shenandoah Valley, I’d never seen a bobcat. Bear, turkey, rattlesnakes, snapping turtles, eagles, raccoons, deer, copperheads and other creatures routinely cross my path or mine theirs.

My father, who worked 39 years in Shenandoah National Park, told a reporter upon his retirement in 1987 that seeing a bobcat and two kittens along Skyline Drive ranked as a highlight of his career. Shy and elusive, the cats seldom pop into humans’ view.

But, in my 28th year of living at the base of Wildcat Mountain, I at last have encountered a critter from which the place gets its name. Again, it reminds me of our good fortune to live in this place.

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