Saturday, November 20, 2010
1 Fisher (Cat) of the Vermilon River
The hike out was cold. Although it was cloudy, the sun was out intermittently, and as I sat on my favourite rock after shedding my gear ,except for the camera ever ready to get a few beaver shots, I started to doze a bit. Still alert enough I guess, I noticed a tail going into the log pile in the front of the pond. Not a beaver tail I might add. I stood up and was a little disappointed as he was going the wrong way for a photo. Annoyed I picked up a rock from the old rail bed and lobbed it up in the air and it struck the skim breaking through with a loud splash. Out popped Mr. Tough Guy prepared for lunch or at least to defend his territory.
I think he is a Fisher or Fisher Cat as Americans call him. He is a member of the Mustelid family (weasel) a cousin of the marten and the wolverine. The marten a little smaller has an orange chest patch. The Fisher is normally dark brown or black and may be frosted at the fur tips. He forages for mice, voles, rabbits and has achieved a rather nasty reputation as a predator.
(For non-North Americans, the wolverine about the size of a mid-sized dog is avoided by all predators- think vicious.)
Probably because the Fisher is the only mammal with a strategy to attack porcupines successfully, he is also considered a proficient predator. He is being re-introduced in some New England states as a natural solution to a porcupine problem. He was trapped extensively at one time and marketed along with his cousin, the Marten, as sable. That's why the clue was the preferred fur of Hollywood glamour queens.
Congrats Hilke for guessing the ID of the animal. More photos follow in another entry posted tonight at my time 7pm.