Up close and personal with local lynx family
Anchorage resident Tim Newton awoke to the sound of something running across his deck in the area of Flattop, last Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. So naturally, he went to check it out.
"I crept over to the window and opened the curtains a crack, and could see it looked like a cat," he told Channel 2. But to his surprise it was no regular house cat.
"I started to think nothing more of it," he said. "But then I noticed it had really big feet and little tiny hairs on its ears. So I knew then it was probably a lynx kitten – not a full grown cat."
The very next thing Newton did was grab his camera.
"Normally when you see a lynx, you have just enough time to get your camera out, and then they're gone," says Newton. "So I was thrilled I could get a couple pictures of them playing on the deck. And I thought that might be the end of it."
But that was not the end of it.
Newton says he captured approximately 10 or 20 photos, before the lynx kittens disappeared off the north end of the deck to the other side of the house. Ultimately, this led him to discover the rest of the litter and mother lynx.
At first, Newton says he didn't see the lynx kittens, so he thought they were gone. But then, he heard the mother mewing from the brush, as she tried to camouflage.
"Then I saw the grass... rustling," he says. "It's like in Jurassic Park! We got the velociraptors going through the bushes – well that's what I saw. And lo and behold, one by one, all these baby lynx came to mama and shuffled out onto the deck, right in front of me, where I was standing behind the screen."
In total, the family was made up of eight lynx – seven kittens and one mother.
By this time, Newton says he was "clicking away," which in turn puzzled the lynx.
"They're kind of confused that there might be anything near, because I'm behind the screen," explains Newton. "But they can hear my camera. That's that one picture where you see them on the deck. They're looking at the noise."
Lynx are commonly known to be solitary animals. And if you see them at all, they tend to leave your sight after a brief moment.
But in this rare case, the lynx family stuck around for quite some time.
"They were using the deck as a playground," he says. "And those cats were chasing each other, and frolicking, and crouching and running. Just back and forth, across that deck, for about a half-hour."
He adds jokingly, "I've concluded from this that lynx must spend about 1 percent of their time chasing rabbits, and 99 percent of their time chasing each other."
Newton says there was almost never a moment in which one of the kits were not interested in running away from, or chasing, another one kitten – or two.
So for the next half-hour, Newton says he just went back and forth, from window to window, photographing them.
At one point, Newton decided to test his luck by going outside to continue photographing the kits. While the mother was cautious and alert, he says she was also very calm with him in her presence. Moreover, some of the kits were very intrigued by Newton.
"I actually had my bathrobe on," says Newton. "So I didn't have legs, as far as the kits could tell. And I didn't have eyes or a head. I just had this big round thing that went 'Click, click, click.' So I think the little kittens didn't have any clue what I might be."
After about 40 total minutes of visitation, Newton says all the kits worked their way over to the mother lynx, and she then walked off into the bushes with her family.
Newton summarizes it as an experience to remember.
If you would like to check out more photos, visit Newton's Fine Art America account