For those of you who might want to read about some of our interactions with the cats we have tracked, this first short story is about the capture and collaring of "Babe" and one of her girl friends....
Early Friday morning, December 15th, I received a call from the research team informing me that they had a bobcat in custody and ready for collaring. As I hopped into my car to head to the site I received a second call, again from the team, informing me that they had a second capture, this one near the Audubon House in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and so we hurried off in that direction. When members of the team assembled at a remote spot near pond #1, we found we had a young female bobcat in the cage trap awaiting us. After greetings were exchanged with her she was provided the opportunity to take a little nap. While she was resting on a field blanket she was weighed, measured, had her vitals recorded and her teeth checked and measured. After that the team members lovingly affixed a bright light-green colored tag in the tip of her left ear to celebrate the holiday season. She had her picture taken and we gave her the nickname of "Marcia" because after all she was such a marsh-cat. She was gently placed back in to the cage to allow her to sleep off her indiscretions but only after the researchers ensured she was recovering properly and that she would not miss the presence of her new found friends for a little while. Leaving her surrounded by Coots calling to each other in the tules nearby, the team rushed off to the Newport back bay to meet the second animal.
Arriving at a secluded area of the back bay, just south of San Joaquin Hills Road, we met another female bobcat who was quietly awaiting our arrival and ultimately, her release. But while she was quiet not much else was. Ambulances and fire trucks were racing by on Jamboree with sirens at full blast and then a murder of Crows came along with a bunch of Ravens mixed in and circled overhead for the longest time, squawking at full voice announcing to the wildlife the details of what was happening in the thicket below.

This second little beauty is undoubtedly the adult female that has been observed and photographed by so many of our naturalists and friends as she has toured the back bay this past summer with her three young kittens in tow. It was because of her affinity for the bay that she was nicknamed "Babe". The team lovingly provided her with the same medical work up and beauty treatment as described above but because she was special, and also fully grown, she was gifted with a pretty but temporary tracking collar with little yellow and green markers on it. Little does she know but this gift will fall off of her automatically in six months. To top the gift giving off she was also presented with a new white tag to adorn her left ear. After posing for her holiday photographs she was put back in to her cage and allowed to take a little nap in order to freshen up after all the festivities.
Half of the team then rushed back to Audubon House to check on Marcia. On our arrival she appeared a little anxious to get out and about and perhaps to tell her family and friends about her experiences and so, without wasting any time we waved adieu and she took off in a rather abrupt manner. Then it was back to Newport where we found Babe almost ready to get up from her nap and get out. One last check to make sure she was good to go and as the sun was setting, it was time to part ways. Strangely, she left the scene as rapidly as her friend Marcia had. Apparently these girls are not big on long or lingering goodbyes.

Anyone seeing either of these girls sporting their new attire should contact the writer with details as we would like to stay in close touch with them.

All in all, another great day in nature....

PS: The following morning, Saturday, Babe along with each of her three kittens was observed a mile or so away sitting on a footbridge in Big Canyon looking down upon some birds. Observers said Babe looked very nice sporting her spiffy new jewelry.

Dick Newell