An encounter with the elusive Canadian Lynx

August 11, 2013
Canadian Lynx, Spray Lakes Road, Alberta, July 30, 2013

Canadian Lynx, Spray Lakes Road, Alberta, July 30, 2013

A flash of movement on the side of the road caught my attention. A nebulous form crept up to the edge of the gravel, then backed away when it heard my car. I got a cat-ish sense and initially thought ‘cougar’? ‘No, it’s too small – probably just a coyote,’ the practical part of my brain said, but the adrenaline started pumping. My body seemed to know before my brain that I was about to have a wildlife encounter of a life time.

I pulled over, rolled down my window, focused my vision on a clump of bushes and found the elusive Canadian Lynx peering back at me…

For me, a ‘life time’ is actually a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve only been *really* into wildlife photography for about two years now. But I’ve had a life long love of cats (big and small) and have always dreamed of seeing one in the wild. I have lots of experience with the domestic variety.

When I was young, I would often open up our heavy, hard-covered encyclopedia to the tiger page. I was fascinated by the pictures of these beautiful, massive cats. I vividly remember staring at a picture of a tiger’s face that encompassed the entire page. The expressive eyes invited me into an exotic world that was only accessible by my imagination. I saw the same expression in the Lynx’s eyes, yet it was in my reality for a brief period and I was lucky enough to capture the moment.

This past winter – 2012/13 – a lynx mom and her kitten were making headlines in Lake Louise, Alberta. They were being seen by the ski hill and a local lodge, leading to a number of articles about the rare appearances of these elusive cats. I watched a video captured by Parks Canada more times than I can remember. I poured over some amazing images captured by some Alberta photographers for hours. Here are a couple of my favs:

See Dee Cresswell’s lynx photos here.

Canadian Lynx

Yawning – not hissing 😉

See Duane Starr’s lynx photos here.

I was aching to get out to Lake Louise! The one time I tried, I was thwarted by a snow storm. Winter came and went and I figured I missed my opportunity, but it was all good. Whenever I find myself disappointed, thinking I missed seeing something cool, all I need to do is remind myself I have a lifetime of wildlife surprises ahead of me.

I had an amazing surprise on that quiet Tuesday morning and I am so grateful for the experience. Next on my local list is a cougar, and I will patiently wait for that encounter. In a couple of years, I am hoping to visit Africa and find lions, cheetahs and leopards, adding to my list of wild cats. Maybe tigers will be next. Regardless of what I see in the future, my memory of the encyclopedia tiger coupled with this lynx sighting will always remind me of the everyday miracles waiting to be found in nature.



  1. My Blogs | Kerri Martin Photography - [...] « My quest for the Short Eared Owl An encounter with the elusive Canadian Lynx » [...]
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