Elusive fisher highlights Old Town hike

Posted Feb. 21, 2012, at 10:10 a.m.
An elusive fisher peers between trees.
Dave Small
An elusive fisher peers between trees.
A fisher prowls in Old Town.
Dave Small
A fisher prowls in Old Town.
A spotted sandpiper along the Penobscot River.
Dave Small
A spotted sandpiper along the Penobscot River.
A short-billed dowitcher along the Penobscot.
Dave Small
A short-billed dowitcher along the Penobscot.
A short-billed dowitcher in the grass.
Dave Small
A short-billed dowitcher in the grass.
A short-billed dowitcher.
Dave Small
A short-billed dowitcher.
A house sparrow plays peek-a-boo.
Dave Small
A house sparrow plays peek-a-boo.
A tiny golden-crowned kinglet.
Dave Small
A tiny golden-crowned kinglet.
A golden-crowned kinglet perches in a tree.
Dave Small
A golden-crowned kinglet perches in a tree.
This golden-crowned kinglet is about four inches tall.
Dave Small
This golden-crowned kinglet is about four inches tall.
A black-capped chickadee searches for a meal.
Dave Small
A black-capped chickadee searches for a meal.

Wednesday was an exciting day for me. While hiking through the University of Maine forest in Old Town, a fisher found me, and posed for just a few seconds. This is the closest I’ve ever come to a fisher, and the first time I’ve ever photographed one.

After a few clicks of the shutter, it casually, as if to say, “I’m not worried,” sauntered off into the darker recesses of the forest. Fishes are one of only a few predators that will take on a porcupine. Their preference for a meal, however; is said to be snowshoe hare. Anyway, until it left, I was wondering if I might be on the menu.

The black-capped chickadee pictured was actively gathering, frozen sap, I think. Like the red squirrel from last week’s writing, what an amazing critter. I found the house sparrow on campus and it was busy playing peek-a-boo with me. I couldn’t resist imaging the game.

The next day I went searching for the reported dovekie in Manset and also, to maybe, find some purple sandpipers.Both species eluded me, but I was able to capture this golden-crowned kinglet foraging along the Ship Harbor Trail in Bass Harbor. This guy is tiny, perhaps 4 inches. I remember Bernd Heinrich, in his book Winter World, said that without their feathers they’d be no bigger than your thumb. Small and quick, they really need to stock up on calories if they are to survive winter. I didn’t stay long with this one.

The spotted sandpiper and short-billed dowitcher are from a canoe trip on the Penobscot River last spring near the Forest Service camp.

 

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