Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Owls, a Cross Fisher, and a Lazy Fox

Lars reports a few sightings.  Yesterday, I was crossing the ice of the swamp of the northern section of Delaney Complex between Finn Rd and Taylor Rd in Stow/Bolton.  I roused a pair of great horned owls on the southern edge of a pine stand jutting into the pond.  I followed as they took flight and saw them three times. Then they doubled back to the original location.  Nesting pair?  Online owl reports are possible at

On Feb 17, I was lucky to see and photograph a running fisher.  I saw him running (loping) across the woods as I parked to go into Heath Hen Meadow conservation land on Boxboro Rd in Stow before 8 AM.  As the fisher came up to the snow bank, he looked both ways before crossing!  I got four frames and photoshopped them together.  The BFI dumpster has been included for scale.  Male, female?

Finally, I found a body print of what I presume to be a sitting fox. This was near the eastern edge of Marble Hill/Stow off Taylor Rd. His trail had a narrow, direct-register line, then broke to a 2-2 rear foot-leading pattern. Body print and gait included.


  1. Lars,

    Fabulous fisher photos! It's hard to tell from photos but most people who have seen both male and female fishers say it's easy to tell them apart. Males appear larger than house cats (but weigh about the same), while females look smaller than house I am told...I've seen only what I thought was a male. (Interestingly, while females have smaller heads than males, their heads and brains are proportionately larger relative to their body size. Females are also a lot more difficult to capture, much to the dismay of trappers, who value them over males for their more luxurious coats. I won't conclude the obvious, lest I appear gender biased.)

    I guess we do a good job in weeding out those fishers that don't look both ways.

    The fox's "2-2 rear leading pattern" is a side trot. If those little dimples just below and to the right of the front tracks in the photo were consistent (and not just random snow ploppage) then what you have in the pic is side trot. A nice photo of side trot that Dan took is on our website:

  2. Thanks for posting, Lars. Loved the fisher sequence. It was lucky that you had your camera at the ready. My neighbor reported this morning that a fisher surprised a squirrel under the birdfeeder in his yard, caught it and consumed it beneath their deck. Very bold!

  3. This has been the year of the Great Horned Owl in NW Stow. I've been hearing them almost nightly for most of the winter. Back in November there were at least three owls - now I usually hear two. I took some photos when they came to visit our yard one night.