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      Nature Report : Feline Visitor

      Sniffing cautiously, this cottontail rabbit warily approaches a ranch country pond in deep South Texas, making sure there is no threat before crouching at the waters edge to drink.

      With temperatures hovering around the century mark and drought conditions continuing to prevail, any available water becomes a magnet for wildlife. Sooner or later every creature of the chaparral must find water.

      However, even the speedy roadrunner remains on high alert when slacking its thirst, lowering its head only briefly before quickly scanning for danger.

      A bobwhite quail employs similar technique, tentatively sipping and then scanning for any potential predator.

      The whitetail deer are also watchful at this remote pond. Animals are at their most vulnerable when lowering their guard to quench their thirst, as an unseen predator could be lurking in the shadows preparing to pounce.

      Something has riveted this does attention, and she turns to stare back into the thick brush.

      Within minutes of the doe's departure, a mature bobcat materializes pond side. The big cat stalks to the waters edge and begins lapping up the tepid water, all the while flicking its short white tipped tail.

      Crouching on sinewy haunches, the tawny cat peers intently across the water, its inscrutable feline countenance a mask of concentration.

      It appears that even the powerful bobcat maintains a heightened vigilance when coming to water.

      The bobcat drinks for several minutes, its yellow gold eyes glowing in the late afternoon sun.

      Finally, it backs away and edges into the darkening brush, padding soundlessly across a brief clearing before disappearing into the cloaking woods.

      With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore