Monday, February 28, 2011

Raccoon emerging from winter den hole

Dan writes:
Over in Carlisle a few years ago, we found a series of holes dug into a
hill at the edge of a wetland. Raccoons use these to hole up during
cold spells. After a warm winter day, we'll see muddy raccoon prints
leading from the holes down to any seeping water in the wetland.

We set up a camera again this year, and have captured a few pictures of
raccoons emerging to forage for food in the wetland.

On my last visit to the camera, there were fresh fisher tracks leading
right up to the den hole. Would a fisher be brave enough to enter an
underground den full of raccoons? I doubt it, and his tracks didn't
appear to do anything more than just investigate the surface.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hairy Business

Janet writes: In the first shot, the hair is stuck to a fallen branch
in the middle of the photo, and the business is the scat off to the
right. Closeup shows hair. This was a fisher, pausing to roll, rub,
and relieve.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coyote Carnage Follow-Up

The two houses near the kill site reported lots of very vocal coyote activity in the days following the deer takedown. My motion camera did a great job of capturing photos of the initial visitors to the site - crows and a neighborhood hound. I was disappointed that it failed to get any of the early pack-dining pix, and will have to be satisfied with the one picture I finally got ... a coyote doing its best to glean the little meat remaining on the carcass.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grouse hole

Dan was snowshoeing near Mt. Watatic on the MA/NH border when he found a
set of alternating bird tracks leading to a hole in the snow. The
grouse had burrowed under the snow pack for the night, tunneled forward
about 18 inches under the surface, and then burst out the next day into
flight. Peering back into the tunnel, we found an enormous quantity of

Monday, February 14, 2011

Accident scene

Last Thursday I came upon this accident scene in Bolton thanks to my dog Pandora.

Note all the branches on top of the snow below the pine.

Large branch impalled in the snow, and just above it in the photo, a hole.

Not an ordinary hole - a procupine butt print.

It must have been quite shook up for it climbed out of the hole and rested at the base of the tree loosing more quills and other stuff...

The snow was really crusted so no prints. It must have fallen from quite a height for the hole was 5-6 inches deep.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coyote Carnage

After learning about a recent deer kill by coyotes, I went out this morning to investigate. The following is my take on the event.

The first photo shows the attack site, which was on a rise among a grove of mature hemlocks. I'm guessing the deer was bedded down.

The next picture shows the bloody path of the deer as it was being dragged down the hill. (You can make out the carcass below.)

The third shot shows where the deer was initially left, but before it was fed upon. You have to look closely to see there's an actual melted impression of the still-warm animal in the snow.

The final photo is of the deer itself. It had been dragged further downhill and its stomach had been removed. (It was still largely intact, but had been taken some distance from the carcass.)

The person whose property this is on stated that last night sounded like something out of a zombie movie. Besides coyote howling, there was much growling and bone-crunching to be heard.

In addition to the coyotes seen at the site, a red fox was spotted there this morning. I set up my motion-detecting camera and hope to get some photos of the various mammals that come to dine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Denning Fisher?

Dan writes:

Behind my childhood home in Carlisle is a steep drop-off, leading down
to a wetlands. The builders bulldozed brush and stumps over the edge,
creating a warren of holes and crevices. For the past several weeks, my
parents have been finding fisher tracks going in and out of three
different holes in the "stump dump". We recently set up a remote camera
to monitor the area.

A fisher was photographed at one of the holes at these times:
1/26 9PM
1/30 5PM
2/5 8AM
2/5 4PM

A few years back we found another hole that was being regularly visited
by fisher every three or four days.

I'm curious what you all think about this. Is this a female fisher
using a natal den to raise young? Is this just a fisher checking the
same hole over and over again, hoping to find a squirrel or rabbit? Is
this a fisher holing up for the night when he/she passes through this
part of his/her territory?

With some luck, I'll continue to get photos of this fisher over the next
month, and maybe one of them will help solve the mystery.