You’ll hardly believe that I did see this creature at all, as the photos I managed to get are truly awful. Really the worst I’ve ever taken of anything, period. But I’m going to show you anyway, as it was (for us anyway) pretty special.
In the time that we’ve lived on this patch of land in Eastern Ontario, we’ve seen and/or encountered a truly wonderful range of creatures, including snowshoe hares, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, wild turkeys, turtles, deer, herons, turkey vultures, and loads of other birds. We know of other critters that inhabit this part of the world but just haven’t seen, and yesterday morning I finally caught a glimpse of one.
Walking towards our pond with Reggie first thing after feeding the chickens, I saw something splashing about in the middle of the water. I was intrigued and confused, unsure of what I was seeing. Finally, after watching for a minute or two and struggling with the fact that I wasn’t wearing my glasses (which are for distance), I figured it out. Swimming in the middle of our pond was a fisher.
If you haven’t heard of this mammal (and I’ve met a lot of folks who don’t seem to have), let me share this entry from Wikipedia:
The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. It is a member of the mustelid family, commonly referred to as the weasel family. The fisher is closely related to but larger than the American Marten (Martes americana). The fisher is a forest-dwelling creature whose range covers much of the boreal forest in Canada to the northern fringes of the United States. Names derived from aboriginal languages include pekan, pequam, and wejack. It is also sometimes referred to as a fisher cat, though it is not a feline.
Positive that I had identified this creature, but wanting confirmation, I raced back to the house with the dog in tow and grabbed my husband and older son. We all walked back down quietly, wondering if the creature would have cleared off in the interim. Luck was on our side and he was still swimming about lazily in the centre of the pond.
Without a telephoto lens, I was severely limited in what I could capture at such a distance, and I wasn’t helped by the fact that this creature kept bobbing out of sight and reappearing somewhere new. To cap it off my camera’s light settings seem to have gone wonky! I finally got a shot that will have to suffice for a close-up, but it truly is terrible.
We can understand how this mammal would love where we live, as we have a small and secluded forest full of dead wood on the ground (which they love – they tend to sleep in hollow logs) with access to water (the pond and its stream). We obviously have no idea whether he is making his home here or is just passing through; we’ll keep an eye out for him and see what happens (or not!).