Last week I got to spend some time in the French Jura. A region I had been keen on visiting for a long time. Mostly because I saw the films by Agnes George, who is a friend of my good friend Jean-Marie. Here is an example of what she filmed… CLICK HERE
I never forgot these images and wanted to look for wild cats and see the habitat of both the higher (1200m) and lower (800m) Jura valleys
I knew that the Jura also has a stable Lynx population, but they are seldom seen. Great images of these Lynx have been made by Laurent Geslin in Switzerland. CLICK HERE
On arrival, snow was still plentifull on the higher slopes (1m), so we spend most our time skeeing. Which I never did before…
I also found a mouse who had made a tunnelling notice to the surrounding female mice. This to me indicates that mice mating season was about to start…
Since we almost could not enter the forests in the high Jura because of thick snow, I even photographed dogs…
It became clear that in order to see wildlife, we would have to try our luck lower down, and the images you see here are made in the vicinity of Hauteville.
I went there for wild cats, but I just saw one without begin able to take pictures… Yet I photographed a lot of nice foxes:
This one seemed to be stalking Mistle thrushes
Lower down the valleys, foxy ladies were to be found as well…
Also Roe Deer were plentifull…
On the last evening we were walking on a forest track, when we got a very very very special sighting…
Ever since I was a kid, my dad told me to walk quietly in the forest. Very Quietly. And to take into account the wind.
As such, we were walking quietly upwind -carrying my telelens for quick deployment- in a valley when I noticed a brown treestump next to the road. It had to be a treestump since it was not a fox, nor a deer. Untill I put my viewfinder on it. Holy holy holy sweet mother of Jesus. A lynx at 40m, during daytime. He was sent marking some branches and rubbing his neck in it. I took some pictures, he noticed us and jumped in the forest.
I thought the story would end there, and we were preparing for alcohol. Because you have to after such a sighting.
Driving home two hours later we noticed Roe Deer everywhere and I decided to check them.
I was checking three deer at large distance (I guess 300m) when suddenly the Lynx jumped out of the bushes and exploded after them. A 50m chase became fruitless, and Lynxie was beaten by the Roe Vegetarians. The hungry cat lumbered accross the meadow back into the forest.
At high ISO and great distance, I managed another picture. I have been looking at all my pics, and it is almost impossible to tell if it is the same animal since we saw its right side first, and its left side in the second sighting… But being just 1.5km apart, and similar in size and shape, I am almost sure it is the same animal.
So yeah, after Sweden (mother and cub) and Poland, this is the third time we manage to photograph a Eurasian Lynx.
Luck needs to be earned, but I don’t know what I did to earn this…
A huge thank you to Agnes George for the info on cats.
To Gerard Lenglet for giving tips as well.
and to Manu for letting me play with his D4