Local lynx information is everything !!!
I may not have spotted a Lynx on this my first full day of trying but, due to the fact that so many people love to see what a camera operator is pointing at, because they are just plain nosy, or believe they can help in some way, add to this I am well practiced in stopping and winkling information out of anyone who looks like they may be the holder of any snippet I can use to get ahead, it turned out to be a peach of a day.
On my morning travels I was plotted up under a huge Eucalyptus tree that a woodpecker had decided was to be home this spring, when a car slowed to a halt and a kind looking, portly built man asked me if I was looking for, or had seen a Lynx that morning. A conversation commenced, with me feeling somewhat guilty and apologetic about the awful standard of my Spanish, which should be somewhat more fluid than it currently is, however we soldiered on and the end result turned out to be one of those Christmas came early moments.
He and his wife lived locally in the town of Andujar and they drove up every morning to their country house to potter and enjoy the nature, he was so eager to see me succeed in my filming project, that he offered to let me use his Finca ( farm ) and all his land to increase my chances of locating and filming these rare cats. Although Andujar National Park, has a protected status, much of the land is privately owned, an access to it is of course restricted, all the more so due to the presence of this the worlds rarest feline, so the last thing the authorities want is too many nature lovers stomping their size 11 Meindl trekking boots all over the hills and valleys and disturbing the Lynx , after all they have enough on their proverbial plate to deal with.
Before Fernando made himself known to me, I noticed a sign hanging on the gates of a Finca up the road where I had left my car, which advised anyone who wished to read it that this particular Finca was collaborating in the Lynx reintroduction program by not shooting any rabbits that lived on it, and releasing more captive bred ones onto it thereby encouraging the Lynx to hunt and hopefully incorporate it into it’s territory. It turns out I had parked my car at the entrance to my new found friends Finca and he assured me Lynx regularly cross his land and I would be more than welcome to wander quietly across it and set up camouflaged hides where I thought best, and he would meet me tomorrow to give me a set of keys to the front gate.
Ecstatic at this news, only an hour and a bit after crawling bleary eyed from the comforting fug and warmth in the back of my Toyota Previa, I did not think my day could get any better, but oh don’t you just love local knowledge, especially when it’s free. I decided on an afternoon trip to an area I knew was supposed to be a good place to spot Lynx when they make their way to the river to drink. I was just doing a little piece to my go pro for the blog, when a man sporting an official looking t-shirt with a local government logo on it announcing he was something to do with fish conservation strolled past passed and sensing he could be of use, I struck. Lucky I did, because 5 minutes later he had whipped out a map and told me that only a short distance up the trail, I would find an area that is frequented on a very regular basis.
GUESS WHERE I AM GOING AT 5AM