Friday, 18 July 2014

Scottish Wildcat

Scottish Wildcat, Felis silvestris

It is very difficult to take a photograph of a wildcat and have it look like a wildcat!., a nice normal portrait looks like a picture of a tabby cat to most people. Don't get me wrong, myself and I'm sure others that work closely with them, or are really interested in them, could probably pick a wildcat with relative ease. But to Joe Public, and I don't mean that in bad way at all, they look just to similar.

Of course the differences are there, all be it subtle, but it is the behaviour in particular that makes them stand out. So this leads to countless photographs of a snarling wildcat, as a above.


Wildcat Stare

I like a good snarl shot myself, but you don't always need that. It is all in the look to make the wildcat look like a wildcat.


And a Nice Chianti...

This one was one of my earliest wildcat photos, and has been shortlisted a few times in competitions, but never made the finals... It is quite old now so has been retired.


Wildcat in the Snow

If you can't get the look, then having a wildcat in the snow is the best way to go. This is where they should be and where they look their best.


Wildcat in the Snow

Full on winter coat making them appear their true size, the larger feet, head, legs and face really showing through and their tail is the full bushy wildcat tail with the black rings and blunt end.


Peeking in the Snow

This is one of my favourites of the wildcats in the snow, peeking around the vase of a tree trunk where the snow has drifted about 3 foot up it. This was taken a few years a go in the very heavy snow we had one winter.

All three snow photos above are of an old wildcat called Lex... arguably the best male we ever had. Unfortunately he died young, but continues on in his daughters Kendra and Iona.


Wildcat in Evening Light

A couple here a little different, above with the lighting.


Panning Wildcat

And this one attempting a bit of panning. I went for a slower shutter than I would usually use for this one, I think it went okay, but more practise is needed.


Little Tom with the Wildcats

Our three kittens bred here last year are great jumpers, and I have many of them in "supercat" poses flying through the air! It leads to fun photos like the ones above of Little Tom. It may look like he is kicking and throwing the cat, but it is just them jumping for the food he has thrown... honest!

The last one in the row shows you how close they get when they hand feed, you have to be careful feeding them, but they rarely miss.


Jumping Cat

Flying through the air with the fish-eye lens.


Kitten, only a few days old

One of the many advantages of working here is getting to see the rare moments, such as these very young kittens. They are only a few days old here, eyes still closed, I have not seen them this young before or since, but this one litter a few years a go were kept outside Kendra's nest box and successfully reared. This could even be Richy Junior, now on loan at Wildwood.


Young Wildcat

It is lovely seeing the young animals grow and mature, a real pleasure of the job.


Snarling Kitten

Even at this young age they have their characteristic aggression. Weight for weight they are believed to be the most aggressive cat in the world!


Wildcat Kittens

These are two of Iona's kittens from last year, still with their cobalt blue eyes!


Wildcat Kitten

And only a couple of weeks later, the eyes turned already to a browny green.


Dougal: Bonafide BadAss!

This photo is of one of our original wildcats, Dougal. Taken many years a go now with an old point and shoot. Still one of my favourites though as it really shows off his attitude well.

Thanks for looking.

3 comments:

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  2. These photos are absolutely stunning! The way you have captured (photographically of course) these magnificent wildcats is simply breath-taking. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent and thank you for caring for these wonderful creatures.

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