|Fisher on an ancient stump in the redwoods of Humbolt County|
Long ago when the Earth was wintry and game was scarce, fisher summoned his friends to break into Skyland.
Only wolverine had the brawn to tear the sky open, and through the hole warmth and birds swept down on the frozen earth below.
The intrusion so displeased the Sky People that they shot fisher with bow and arrow.
But as fisher was dying they realized the great hunter from Earth, fisher, was a good guy looking out for his friends.
So t took pity, nursed fisher's wounds, and hung him in the sky.
The next time you gaze at the Big Dipper, remember that you are also looking at fisher.
* * * * *
I was blithely basking in January's seductive weather, occupying myself with dog-outings and garage projects, when my thoughts drifted to Humbolt's redwoods and a sobering vision assaulted my reverie.
I saw my stoic sentinels, the clear-eyed cameras of November past, listing on their posts, draped in soggy spider webs, and speckled with splash-dirt.
I saw a prostrate camera -- disemboweled and filled with water.
This worrisome vision ignited a burning flame under the codger's skinny butt.
The cams had been there for over two months, and soon the long-overdue storm would dump its Pacific payload and close Rt 299 through the Trinity Alps.
The cams could be stranded for another month or two, or an impatient codger could get marooned in Sasquatch country.
I emailed Lowell and Terry, got the green light for a visit, and a few days later did the 5-hour drive.
The next day we checked and serviced the cams which were indeed draped with spider webs, and at the end of the day we viewed the pixeled fisher -- ah, the sweet thrill of camera trap victory.
Upon checking the EXIF data, we found the road-killed squirrel had cured for a month before fisher scented the delicacy just before noon on a sunny December day.
It groomed a bit before digging in,
|Revealing a spotted throat and a bit of a white tush.|
then ate at a leisurely pace.
It finished in 10 minutes, and the cam captured 31 photos.
There were enough images to see that this fisher has a white spot on the underside of its right wrist, which means we may be able to recognize it in the future.
I have now cam-trapped all but two of California's slinky mustelids -- northern otter, mink, short-tailed and long-tailed weasels, badger, American marten, and fisher.
Wolverine and sea otter remain.
I'm not after the sea otter, nor the state of California's only wolverine.
If I camtrapped the wolverine, however, I could boast a Grand Slam of the golden state's terrestrial mustelids.
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Buddy the bachelor wolverine this winter?