Thursdays with Jake. It’s a wild kingdom!

And I like it this way!

So I’m sitting at my computer, which is in the kitchen near the open back door, and when I say open back door I mean actually open so Jake can let himself in and out – the wall is a bank of windows anyway with a glass sliding door so there’s tons of light.

Anyway, he’s laying? lying? (I ain’t lookin’ it up) right next to the open door and Whoosh!  Blam!  Ka-Pow!  A hawk and a crow crash to the wooden deck six inches from him.

Yikes-a-loo!  Jake and I leap to our feet but before either of us can get out the door both birds fly off in opposite directions.  I try to see where they’ve gone but both have vanished.

Apparently they were uninjured, or at least well enough to fly away.

Cooo-el!  How often does that happen?  It was a red tail hawk.  I’ve had my eye on him for a few days.  He’s been hanging out in our redwoods and in the neighbor’s palm tree.

The Weekly Jake List:

A tragedy– I watched the mama and papa robins build their nest with such care.  Found it on the ground beneath the redwoods this morning.  Found the smashed egg on the sidewalk.   So sad.  Now the robins have flown off.  I bet the culprit was either a crow or a jay.

Robin's Nest.

Robin’s Nest.

Poor little egg...

Poor little egg…

Don’t worry, bee happy!

Thousands of honey bees, bumble bees, native stingless bees– see here.

Jake and I keep finding bees performing honey dances on the basketball court. They are sucking the nectar from these plants like there’s no tomorrow.  I only know the jasmine and the lavender.  Haven’t a clue what the white and pink giant flowering shrubs/trees are:

Spanish Lavender

Spanish Lavender. French Lavender will be blooming soon!

White Jasmine.

White Jasmine.

Pink flower giant shrub.

Pink flower giant shrub.

White flower giant shrub-tree

White flower giant shrub-tree

Another white flower giant shrub tree

Another white flower giant shrub tree

The beach!

We had a great time.  Watched the surfers.  Picked up a couple big crabs and carried them back to the tide pools.  Checked out some beached jellyfish.  Jake ran, dug, chased, said ‘hey‘ to other dogs, and I got a little haul of carnelian, jade and sea glass.

my semi-precious stones.

my semi-precious stones.

The Mountain Lion.

So Tuesday was Jake’s first day back on the hiking trail after torquing his toenail while climbing a cliff.  The vet removed his entire toenail.  Ouch!  He’s doing fine – still kinda bugs him but he’s a trooper.

Anywhoo, we headed down the back side of the park and I figured I’d take a couple photos of the spot where we saw the mountain lion.  And I did take a few photos.  Which I lost for reasons which shall be made clear.

So… I’m taking photos, right?  And we hike just past the point where I’d previously seen the cougar and the buck deer.  Jake’s in front of me at the end of his leash, nose to the ground.  I catch movement out of the corner of my eye — up the hillside to my left.  Maybe 100 yards away?  And this mountain lion stands up in the tall grass, front legs spread as if standing over a kill, and it stares at me.

I stop dead.  Because the last thing you want to do is run.  I call Jake back to me because I want the mountain lion to see I am not alone.  I’m with a big and bad German shepherd.  Jake comes and he sees I am staring at something so he stares.  Now we’re all three staring.  It’s the same cat we saw before.  It’s a young cat.  A little darker tan in color than I’ve seen before.  Definitely not sandy-colored like the humongous mountain lion I used to run into at this park.

This color.  Not my photo.

This color. Not my photo.

Okay… okay.  I’m a little concerned now because I can’t go back up the hill – it’s too steep.  The mountain lion already commands the high ground so he has the advantage.  If I go on down the trail he still commands the high ground and he can follow behind me and stay above me, which is a scary thought, but the area is a little more open, a little less forested.  And I’ll be getting closer to the more frequently traveled sections of the park.

I decide to try and scare him off, so I jump up and down, wave my arms, and yell, “Git!  Git!  Hey you, git!”  Yeah, right.  He doesn’t move.  We’re still locked in this three-way stare-down.

I’m wondering if I should call someone, like the police or Penny Watson so she can freak out and call the White House or maybe Tom Stronach in England.  I pull my phone out of my pocket only to realize I no longer have the police on speed dial.  I can’t look up Penny’s number because that will mean taking my eyes off the cougar, and damn it, my hands are shaking so bad I drop my phone.

While messing with the phone I lost all the photos.

At last the cougar lay back down in the grass.  I decided he’d decided I was neither threat nor prey so Jake and I moved off down the hill – not running, not in a state of panic.  Using the eyes in the back of my head?  You better believe it.

When I got home, my daughter said I had to call the Parks Department and let them know.  I was very reluctant.  I don’t want this mountain lion shot.  But she pointed out I would feel terrible if a little kid got hurt or killed.  And I would.  Besides, this lion doesn’t seem too awfully afraid of people and that’s a problem.

I did call the Parks Department, told them I’ve seen the cougar twice in two weeks, and I suggested they at least post a sign.  They didn’t seem very interested.  No sign’s been posted.

That’s bureaucracy for ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 Responses to Thursdays with Jake. It’s a wild kingdom!

  1. Another great Jake story!
    Wow, but a young mountain lion who doesn’t respond to all your yells and arm waving, and you’re aided by a BIG German shepherd??? That’s one fearless young cat…or one young cat unclear on the concept.
    Sorry to say, but I’m not surprised by the lack of response.

  2. Amber Skyze says:

    I’m not surprised they’re not doing anything. I think Penny could’ve helped though. ;) Please be careful hiking there.
    I love Thursday’s with Jake.

    Pretty stones.

  3. Tom Stronach says:

    Awe, lovely sweet story about the hawk missing the prey and geeing youse a wee frightner as yer sittn ther mindin yer ane busness

    and then you casually drop in the bit about the fearless mountain lion and jumping up and down just to attract his /her attention WAY TO GO JULES

    YA BIG NUMPTY

  4. Tom Stronach says:

    Awe, lovely sweet story about the hawk missing the prey and geeing youse a wee frightner as yer sittn ther mindin yer ane busness

    and then you casually drop in the bit about the fearless mountain lion and jumping up and down just to attract his /her attention WAY TO GO JULES

    YA BIG NUMPTY

    But apart from that, what a great post

    I saw a programme recently where The Federal Dept responsible for wildlife were looking at the possibility of re introducing Lions to America WTF Yes apparently Lions did use to roam the Americas too. Big bad ass lions with manes African Lions as we now know them, as the wild horse and bison populations are just too large to be controlled without mass culling

    They are talking about a similar thing in the Highlands with bears and mountain cats to keep the deer population in check as there are, apparently, to many of the too!

    I shall forward this to the grammar police – not my response, your post – to check out Laying and Lying – I am here to help

  5. Penelope says:

    Great post. Except the very last part. I think you need to wear a necklace of bologna sandwiches, so the next time you see the mountain lion, you can fling the bologna to the right, then you and Jake go to the left! Emergency bologna!

  6. How can I follow up those comments? Ya big numpty and emergency bologna kind of say it all. Good thing Jake takes care of you.

  7. Jaye says:

    Oh sweet macaroni! Oh yeah, definitely sounds as if the cat is unclear on the concept about who should be skeered of who. Bear spray. Never leave home without it. An air horn might be more effective than yelling, too.

    I bet the crow was harassing the hawk–and got a bit too close and had the tables turned. I see crows and blackbirds ganging up on prairie falcons and red tail hawks all the time. Harass the crap out of them. Usually the raptors get disgusted by the noise and interference, but every once in a while, boom! They teach a lesson. One time, I watched jays harassing a kestrel. Big mistake. The kestrel (aka sparrow hawk) was able to negotiate the trees and branches even better than the jays can. It’s a nervy little bird, too. It hung out in my yard for an entire day, just daring the jays to come back for another round.

    Love the nature shows. Better than tv.

  8. I like that, Jaye – sweet macaroni! Yes, I think it’s a young city cat and like the city deer he’s decided people ain’t so scary. The deer don’t budge when you come upon them. You’re probably right about the crow. They torture hawks. Usually the hawks ignore them or fly off. Maybe this hawk was fed up. Kestrels are little toughies – I’ve seen them take on golden eagles if they wander into their hunting territory.
    I do enjoy my nature shows!

  9. It is a good thing, Stephanie! And I am a numpty! But no bologna. I’ll attract every wild animal from miles around!

  10. Well Pens, if I wear a bologna sandwich I’ll have coyotes after me. We went today – no mountain lion! Loads of cheeky squirrels!

  11. I love it when you speak Scottish, Tom. Just swooned. What else did you say? I’m a numpty? Lions and bears in the Highlands, eh. Were they once native? Yeah, I need the grammar police. I hate lay, lie, lied, laid, lays, lies. Jeez!

  12. I was cautious today, Amber. Had Jake on a shorter leash. Kept all my eyes open. Was okay.

  13. Yes, Marylin. I’m thinking this lion is not clear on the people concept. Or he simply doesn’t care. He is pretty though. And yes, I’m not surprised by the lack of official response either – but at least my conscience is clean.

  14. anny cook says:

    I love the sea glass! Mountain lions…I’ll have to tell you my mountain lion story some day…

  15. Call your local news.

    When I come can we go to that beach? I found a piece of Tourmaline once but those are great. Shiny!

  16. Oh yes, great beach Steph. Rodeo Beach. Lots of carnelian, jade and sea glass.

  17. Hey, Anny – post it. I want to read it!

  18. Sandra Cox says:

    That’s both way exciting and way scary.

  19. You’re right, Sandra. Both!

  20. anny cook says:

    Heh. I went back to my blog to find it. Guess who was the first commenter? But if you want a refresher… http://annycook.blogspot.com/2010/07/night-of-mountain-lion.html :D

  21. Commented, Anny. I do remember that outstanding story!

  22. What can I say? I’d love to see a cougar in the wild. But at a safe distance. Yes, a bit scary that he stood his ground – but then, understandable if he had a kill. Life with Jake is interesting.

  23. I’ve seen several beautiful cougars in the wild, Greta. They haven’t frightened me. Our golden retriever, Rosie, treed a juvenile one summer. Then I had to go under the tree to retrieve Rosie. Our German shepherd, Louie, chased two mountain lions away – at two different parks. Both huge cats. One winter he and I watched a mother and cub stalk a herd of deer. Nobody else around. It was at the same park where we saw this new cat, but on the other side.
    When my husband and I were walking Louie one night, a mountain lion jumped over our fence and ran down the block right past us.
    I suspect they are around all the time but we just don’t see them. And we aren’t their usual prey so…

  24. Hi, Julia,
    As a huge fan–especially of your travels to London to meet Tom–I have nominated your post (and Tom’s post) for the BEST MOMENT AWARD. To accept, please go to my blog for the rules, and then celebrate!

  25. Yes, Marylin – saw! Aye-yi-yi! I’ll do my best! Hard to compete with the best!

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