As a wildlife photographer, I am sometimes as excited when my friends get amazing or difficult shots as when I do. Oh sure, there is the twinge of jealousy, but if we put enough time and effort into the job, we all get our turn. So today I’d like to show you some fantastic shots two of my friends got this week.

Lloyd Davis is one of the few out-of-state birders who has a.) found their own Boreal Owl (!) and b.) seen and photographed a wild Canada Lynx. Lloyd’s a biologist from Gainesville, Florida but he grew up in Maine. Last year I guided Lloyd and his buddies on a birding trip and we found a very cooperative Great Gray Owl. This year he brought his two daughters and a grand daughter…all from Maine…to see and experience Northern Minnesota’s birds, scenery and wildlife.

And obviously they had very good luck! While driving up in northern Lake County Minnesota, along Hwy 15/11 one morning (last Monday) they spotted two Timber Wolves along the road. Then, not 45 minutes later, they spotted a Canada Lynx sauntering out from the woods to the road edge. They stopped, kept the car running and watched. The first thing the cat did was sit down…”to check out the situation, like many cats do…almost as if its hind end is too heavy and the Lynx needed a break,” Lloyd observed. And that’s when he was able to fire off a dozen or more photos with his Canon.

Look at those paws! Now those are “snowshoes!” No wonder they can float over deep snow in pursuit of the other snowshoe-bearer…the Snowshoe Hare. Their head looks relatively small in comparison. Long legs, huge paws, long ear tufts and overall size help distinguish this cat from the much smaller Bobcat.

This area of Lake County is the core of the Lynx population in Minnesota, but very few folks ever see them. I’ve only seen one in my life and that was late at night in the headlights while doing owl surveys with Dave Benson up in Cook County.

Lloyd’s photos are some of the best ever taken of a wild Canada Lynx in Minnesota. They rank right up there with Jason Mandich’s which were taken near here and published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer last year. Nice job Lloyd! (p.s. I won’t tell you that this was taken with a point-and-shoot! It just goes to show that the best camera is the one you have when the decisive moment is upon you)

After a recent image of a Gray Fox (at night) that I surprisingly captured with a trail camera up in the Sax-Zim Bog, my friend Karl Bardon emailed me that he’d seen a Gray Fox regularly coming to a friends feeder on the North Shore of Lake Superior. These smaller cousins of the Red Fox are becoming more common in northeastern Minnesota. So I stopped over to see if this dainty canine would make it five nights in a row that it showed up at dusk. Nope. I jinxed it. Oh well, Karl got some very nice shots of this gorgeous critter.

Note the shorter snout, dainty face and feet (their tracks are tiny…almost house cat size), beautiful grizzled/mottled fur and the black tip on the tail (can’t see in this photo) (Red Fox always have a white tip…even if in the “Cross Fox” or “Silver Fox” morphs). Karl and I were both surprised by how colorful and “non-gray” these canines are.

Congrats to both Lloyd and Karl on capturing some elusive North Woods critters! I know it motivates me to get out more often and try my luck.