Sunday, December 14, 2008

Real Florida Wild Cats

Photo & Text by Guest Blogger, Fran Palmeri,
Wildlife Advocate & Nature Photographer

What I like most about this photo is that the bobcat is in habitat—scrubby flatwoods to be exact. It’s taken me three years to capture him on digital but not nearly as long to appreciate the Scrub, the “Plain Jane” of Florida’s natural communities. Early settlers despised the Scrub but coveted the sandy land because it was good for raising cattle and growing citrus so they chopped and burned their way through scruffy saw palmetto and little scrubby oaks to set up a homestead. Today less than five percent remains.

This cat lives in the Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Florida. According to her daughter, Anna, Elsa Scherer Burroughs was a “real naturalist loving the land, the birds and all the animals” and was “adamant that her land be turned into a park to remain natural and unspoiled.” She bequeathed her 400-acre estate in Osprey to the state in the 1950s and asked that it be named after her father Oscar Scherer, a successful New York industrialist.

The evening I took this photo, I felt fortunate to be hiking there. Lucky me! Lucky bobcat!

Fran and her wondrous photos may be reached at FranPalmeri at


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a spectacular photo! Welcome to the blog, Fran Palmeri. I used to visit Oscar Shearer State Park, but I never saw such a beautiful cat! Thanks for sharing this; hope you write and submit more photos.

Anonymous said...

I was biking the legacy trail today and about 100 feet in front of me this cat startes running the same direction I was going. I got within 20 feet and made some noise. It darted of in the bushes. I have spent a lot of time in the park most of my life and have never seen one in person. It was a great day

Connie Emerson said...

I was biking the trail today and saw some type of cat - at first, I thought it was a bob cat but its tail was very long. It did have a reddish brown coat (not a fox) and a very long tail. As I recall - the tip of the tail had some black and white.