An oilfield worker near Drayton Valley, Alta., is a local celebrity after recording a life-or-death struggle playing out in the treetops Thursday morning.

Ken Nicholson was driving along a rural road around 9 a.m. Thursday when he says a lynx crossed right in front of his vehicle.

A sighting like that isn't all that rare for the Drayton Valley area southwest of Edmonton.

"They typically go into the bush a few feet and then they usually sit there, so they're pretty easy to get good video of," Nicholson said.

Ken Nicholson

Ken Nicholson shot the video on his phone Thursday morning

But when Nicholson reached for his phone to capture the moment, the cat "started to vocalize," he said.

According to Nicholson, a lynx purring, meowing or growling can be a pretty good indication there are other big cats around.

When Nicholson started looking along the ground for lynx kittens, something caught his eye high up in the tree out the other side of his vehicle.

"I looked up and there was the one cat in the tree, obviously trying to find something to eat."

Another lynx had evidently chased a squirrel high into the treetops and that's where the action begins in Nicholson's widely shared 42-second video.

"The squirrel kept jumping, went on to the ground and then up another tree. It was cat-and-mouse," he said.

"I've seen a lot of neat things out here but I've never seen anything remotely close to a lynx in a tree. It's a young cat. It was just going about trying to find something to eat the hard way, that's all there is to it."

lynx

Ken Nicholson recorded a life-or-death chase between a lynx and squirrel Thursday morning.

In the end, the squirrel got away and the two big cats carried on with their hunt.

"It looked like two juveniles to me, they weren't fully mature," Nicholson said. "They were just young ones trying to find food and obviously they didn't have that much practice at it by the looks of it."