Over the summer I spent a month in Slovakia before I headed to Egypt in August to start a new job. During my time there I saw a wide variety of wildlife, but the true highlight came right at the end when I met an Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) one evening. Truly the highlight of all my European wildlife watching over the years!
This encounter was a combination of good information and extreme luck. It started when we were hiking up a mountain to reach around 2000 metres when my friend Andrej bumped into an old school friend of his on the hike up. He saw our lenses and asked if we are interested in wildlife. On that particular day we were looking for Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) but then the guy told us that he had seen a Lynx the previous day hunting rabbits at the edge of a forest in an open field. We assumed that this was probably a one off encounter but we marked the place on Google maps in any case. The next day the guy messaged Andrej to say that he had seen the Lynx again that evening! So two sightings in two days at the that spot. So we decided to go for it, it was a bit of a drive and then a hike to reach the location. We sat and waited for two evenings but there was no sign of the Lynx. Each day I had to drive 2 hours to get there and back and 40 minutes of uphill hiking. However on the third evening we were about to give up around 8pm and we started walking down the dirt path and then it happened. The Lynx was walking on the same path, some 30 metres ahead of us. It was walking away and then it stopped and turned to look at us for about 20 seconds, allowing me to take a series of photos. It then disappeared. I am not sure if he appreciated this or not, but I was so happy that I hugged and kissed Andrej.
To see a photo gallery of my trip to Slovakia this summer, click here