Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 5.285: Face to face with a fisher

When I was out running yesterday morning I heard something moving through the undergrowth towards the road. It was moving slowly but directly and it was definitely smaller than a deer, but bigger than a squirrel.

I stopped beside the road and waited to see if it would emerge.

At this point I should have readied my camera - well my phone (I don't run with an actual camera). If I had I could have captured something like this:

Fisher (Martes pennanti)
This wonderful photo is by Flickr user guppiecat

A fisher.  It stood on the side of the road, no more than 20 feet away, for a couple of seconds looking straight at me. Then it moved - and I pulled out my phone and caught it disappearing into the ditch on the other side and then turning to look at me again from much further away:

These are mine!

Not exactly award winning, but you can just about see what it is in the bottom photo.

I was struck by its lustrous coat and its size - it's the largest member of the marten family - similar to a fox in length but sleek and low to the ground.  It was quite confident too - clearly in no way tame - but when it left it was definitely on its own terms and not fleeing from its unexpected interaction with a sweaty man just after dawn.

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