Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Not Always A Crank, Part Two

(In case you're wondering, Part One is here.) I'm not always a crank, or an intellectual, or an obsessive collector, or whatever this is... Sometimes, I'm a fun mom. Just a fun person even.

Today's evidence comes from a recent excursion to the countryside...

Turning the minivan around in a farmer's driveway, I spotted an animal that at first glance looked like a cat. But once it started walking way (then bounding through the corn field) it was clear it was too long to be a cat. Hubby said it was a polecat -- a term used 'round here for everything from mink to skunks. It looks a lot like a cat, but a few inches longer, making the dark legs seem a bit too short, like a (very large) ferret. But with little bear-like faces.

As he bounded off through the corn field, we spotted two more polecats running into the field. We pulled over to get a closer look at what looked like furry slinkies bobbing in & out of the young corn. Occasionally, one of the polecats would sit up, prairie dog style. Then, along came another two polecats!

I was so excited! I jabbered at them like women do with animals, telling them how cute they were and how happy I was to meet them.

Then one last polecat came along -- this one bounded towards me. I swear (and have hubby & the kids to testify!) this polecat was as into me as I was into him or her. It would bound a few steps closer, then sit up and look at me. Then walk-bound or slink a bit closer & look at me again... On & on, while I crooned it closer, until it stopped on its side of the ditch and looked at me one final time before bounding off in the directions all it's little polecat friends had gone.

I was 12-15 feet away from my first polecat!

Turns out, these specific polecats are Fisher martens. They are supposed to be solitary hunters, so seeing a small "herd" (i love saying "a herd of polecats lol) of them was pretty rare... We suppose that either it was a mother with nearly-raised young, or a group of individuals who was feeding on the food the farmer left for the farm cats until the pending rain moved too close and they were heading home for cover. Despite my interview attempts with all the polecats, not one gave me any answers, so I don't know...

Here's the one photo hubby managed to get that doesn't look like a blur bounding through the corn:



I'm completely in love with Fishers -- absolutely ga-ga for them!

The kids were fascinated with them too. Until a few nights later when we went back there at night to watch the meteor showers. Then they, especially Hunter, were afraid any noises were dangerous predatory Fishers (or worse!). I would have loved to add Fisher martens to our meteor show. But none showed themselves.

I like to think they were there in the corn, watching us.
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