It was a rainy night and photos are blurry but both cameras had images of two fishers together. We suspect it is a mother and kit for we read that mating occurs shortly after birth in the spring and kits stay with the mother until late summer. Here we are at late summer.
It appeared that the fishers spent a lot of time climbing the tree that one camera is tied to. There were many confused, photos and the camera was askew in the morning. Most of the photos showed them coming and going on the bog walk though one series showed a fisher look under the dock, crouch, and leap to cling onto the statue that is at the size of the bog walk. I wish our images were more clear and so the statue would be visible as well as the clinging, but these pictures did excite the imagination.
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We rarely see deer on our property in the day, but they are there. Often we see deer in photos taken by the trail cameras. And once in a while, as with the decimated bean plant, we see evidence of their visits. We had been keeping track of a doe with a scar on her side. We knew from photos she was nursing a baby and today, at last, we caught a picture of the fawn!
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Over the last two weeks we have returned again and again to a spot in the bog where we’ve found multiple garter snakes basking in the sun. We presume this is the location of a winter hibernaculum or den and we are lucky to witness the snakes waking up to spring sunshine. They are difficult to count, both because of their camouflage and also their ability to weave in, under and back out of the leaf litter. We have to count heads to be certain to get an accurate count. Yesterday we saw nine!
Despite the snow that still covers the pond, the local residents know that it is spring. This morning with temperatures over freezing, two bunnies cavorted under the bird feeder, two red squirrels chased each other across the yard and LOTS of chipmunks danced all around the place, up the trees and down, under the deck and over and in and out of multiple holes.
The whole place is weeping – melting, actually – with the arrival of some warmer weather. Forty degrees feels balmy. A great blue heron arrived to check if there is any open water at the pond’s edge. No clear edge yet, but this bird will be back!
Our population of eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensus, is lively today. They are chasing each other out from under the bird feeder, spiraling us through the oak trees. In this area it is common to see the melanistic, black form of the gray squirrel as well as the white bellied gray form but today, for the first time we have watched a reddish brown fellow, mixing right along with the other shades of gray.
This winter, with snowfall flirting with breaking a record, we spent weeks at the equator, enjoying the antics of animals we don’t see in New England.
All during our absence we imagined the trail cameras at the pond would capture weeks of animal behavior. Upon our return we had to snowshoe through the woods to retrieve a frozen camera, buried under feet of ice and snow.
Even tracks in the snow have been few and hard to read. We’ve seen a rabbit regularly, bright red fox now and then, and a few tracks of coyote, deer and vole. Our imagination is busy trying to visualize all the animal life coping through these freezing, snow covered days.
Once again the fisher carries a large fuzzy mouthful. Is it a rabbit? a muskrat? left-over gingerbread house that we left out for the birds?
On this warm, post Christmas day a good sighting of a beautiful red fox
A few days ago we wondered what the fisher had in its mouth . . . . . today we found the answer. That striped mouthful was a raccoon tail and today we had many images of a bob-tailed raccoon. Compare the regular tail and bob tail below.
Nighttime photographs showed two wary red fox, one following the other down the bog walk. In the morning photos we saw their beautiful color.
The ordinary can be extraordinary. On this gray day we had visits from several huge flocks of birds. First dozens of robins descended on the cedar berries and dug around in the leaf litter. Of course the resident flock of turkeys was ever present with the two biggest males strutting. Just now we counted more than thirty mourning doves, well camouflaged in the meadow.
Last night, once again, there were many pictures of a fisher or maybe more than one fisher. Either the single animal goes back and forth on the bog walk repeatedly or there are more than one. The fisher with something in its mouth puzzles us. What did it catch?
It is 35 degrees with gray skies and showers and yet our pals – the three otters, the 24 turkeys and the small group of hooded mergansers are all chirping and fluttering, chowing down and having a great time around here today.
A couple of times a month our nighttime camera catches a fisher. We see these secretive members of the weasel family so rarely – even though we read that they are active in both day and night – that every photo fascinates us. They are BIG, about two feet long, with long tails and big feet. Last night the tapetum of this one’s eye reflected light of the full moon. There were so many images of fisher last night we believe TWO visited, one larger and darker.
For the last few days, right before the pond surface froze, hooded mergansers have been visiting, fishing all over the pond and congregating near the wood duck house that is nearest our house. Sometimes there are several females and sometimes several males. Last year thirteen hoodies hatched from that duck house and we wonder if some have returned to their birth place.
Three otters spent two weeks on the pond, dipping and diving, catching bass and sunfish on almost every dive. We saw one full sized adult and two smaller, shorter tailed animals, and so surmised it was a mother and two pups. When we stood outside we could hear them chattering to each other and when we disappeared inside the door they slipped up on the dock, exploring the shoreline and kayak.
Starting with Halloween night we noticed coyotes – more than one – yipping and howling in the darkness. The night camera caught them traipsing back and forth from evening until dawn. Two animals were easy to distinguish in the nighttime photographs, a very large male with dark fur, a black line between the eyes, a prominent black spot on his tail and black splotches at the base of his legs, along with a smaller, lighter furred companion, we presume a female.
One night coyote howls were close, and more insistent than usual. In the morning we saw, with binoculars, a carcass on the far southwest shore of the pond. Closer inspection revealed a kill site, a young deer disemboweled and half eaten. That same morning we found a large patch of ground at the north end of the pond, covered with deer hair – maybe from the tail or belly of a deer.