Another once is a lifetime moment in the woods...I was walking in the northeast corner of the property. I was looking down, since plants are why I am out there, when I realized I was hearing a noise. It is strange that when you focus on one thing, like seeing plants, the rest of your senses fade away, until you really don't notice them. But this was strident enough that it pierced my veil of concentration and I looked up. There was a pileated woodpecker who was really upset (I thought at me) and calling out from a few trees away. I swung up the binoculars to get a look, and then I realized that there was noises coming from the tree over my head. So I am standing there, trying to get a good look at the bird, trying to correlate the other sound to something I have heard before...Nope, not a squirrel, not a bird, I finally swung the binoculars up and looked. There was a furry face staring back at me!
I grabbed my camera and struggled to get it to focus through the branches and leaves. I got a good look at the face and my first thoughts were "baby Bear! Is there an angry Momma about to get me?" when it moved and i realized the long body shape was definitely not a bear. Long and thick, short legs, full of attitude. At that point I didn't know if it was a Marten or a Fisher, but I knew it was special to see!
I managed to get several good photos, as it was up in the tree, and going higher, not coming my way. Fishers (which I figured out later it was) are about the size of otters, in the same family. But they have the personality of a weasel or wolverine...all teeth and no backing down. They eat small animals, like rabbits, even baby deer, but also nuts and berries and carrion. Most active at dawn and dusk, most people will never see one in the wild. The fact that I not only got to see one, but get photos at 9:30 in the morning was rare indeed. You might hear them at night, if you are listening. They have a call that sounds much like a woman screaming. It doesn't sound like anything else around here! So there are many things in the woods that most people don't notice...I am fortunate indeed to have seen a fisher, up close and personal!