Last January, an Aroostook County man took photos of four Canada lynx that were walking across his property. That man — Harry McCarthy — created quite a stir with his photos, which were extremely popular with BDN readers, most of whom had never seen a lynx in the wild.
Earlier this week, I spotted a Facebook photo that I figured would have a similar appeal. Carol Bourgoin of Frenchville snapped photos of her own when a lynx came very close to her home. And while McCarthy lamented the quality of his camera when we spoke last year, Bourgoin had no such concerns, as you can see here: Her photos are crystal clear, and the subject is very close to her.
The lynx visited Bourgoin on Tuesday, at about 1 p.m. At first she didn’t think much of it … then she looked at the critter more closely.
“At first I thought it was just a cat, but looking at it coming across the yard, I realized it was either a bobcat or a lynx. I took the photo while he was just standing there looking around,” Bourgoin wrote in an email. “He was standing there about 10 minutes and not moving. As he turned around to go around my garage I saw another lynx waiting for him. I was so excited to see two that I took a picture through the dining room window and it came out like I took a picture of the curtain.
“One was a bit bigger than the one in my yard, but they just met and started slowly walking up the snowbank into the woods,” she wrote.
It turns out that Bourgoin isn’t the only Frenchville resident who has spotted the cats.
“Someone who lives just down the road from me told me that the night before they were at his house and they were face to face with his big German shepherd and they were not backing down,” she wrote. “[My neighbor] said the cat’s back was up and almost looked as round as a horseshoe and the cat was screeching at the dog. The guy kept calling and screaming at the dog to come here and finally the dog came in the house, but the dog looked like he was scared. He doesn’t know why [the lynx] didn’t attack the dog because they were really angry. So these cats are around now.”
Last year, after McCarthy sent me his photos, I spoke with Jennifer Vashon, a wildlife biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Vashon has studied lynx extensively, and said that lynx are pretty photogenic critters.
“Although lynx photographs aren’t common they are more common than one would think,” Vashon said at the time. “Lynx by nature are pretty tolerant of human presence, leading to great photo opportunities.”
Still, Vashon said there just aren’t many lynx on the Maine landscape.
“Collectively our data indicate that Maine’s lynx population is at historic high numbers and [as of January of 2013] likely number more than 1,000 lynx,” Vashon wrote. “The surge in lynx numbers is in response to an abundance of snowshoe hare in northern Maine’s spruce-fir forest that were clear cut following the 1980s budworm outbreak.”