Archive for the ‘Critters’ Category

A Better Mousetrap

29 November 2012

A couple of weeks ago I spent four days at a camp at Moosehead Lake. Did a lot of hunting, a little shooting, and realized that if I had to rely on my skills as a hunter to feed myself I’d be hungry a lot.

But I did encounter an excellent and ferocious little hunter while there. We had all been wondering why the camp, while showing signs of mice infestation, had no mice in evidence. The night before we left, we found out that a ruthlessly efficient predator had been keeping the place clean.


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Devourer of mice and turkey morsels


Apparently, one of Stoaty’s relatives had been making the camp a part of his hunting rounds. As a reward for his fruitful efforts, some of the guys put out a plate of leftover turkey morsels for him, which he quickly stowed in whatever stashes he had established.


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“Better make sure the mice aren’t playing cribbage on my watch.”


Our presence didn’t seem to alarm him as he made his rounds of the camp, through the kitchen and woodpile, in the bunk rooms and even under the chairs we were sitting in.

After some Googling I’m pretty confident in identifying this as a stoat (Mustela erminea), which Wikipedia informs me is “also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel.” And this guy (or maybe girl, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to lift the tail of something with teeth that sharp) was already dressed in his best winter finery.

I got some more pix of him the next morning as he ripped edibles from the partridge carcasses we had discarded.


stoat

“What? You expect me to stop working and pose for you?”


He was moving pretty quickly, so I was using autofocus, which has its limitations. I got some better quality images than this one that don’t make me try to blink away the blurriness, but this was too good a pose to pass up. One of the carcasses, bigger than he was, got caught in the underbrush as he dragged it away. It didn’t seem to discourage him at all. As we left, he was still happily ripping off pieces of partridge flesh and organs to stash in his various hidey-holes.

I just hope it snows soon. Right now his fur makes him easy pickings for hawks, owls and coyotes.

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Happy Birthday to Me

18 October 2009

Big changes in my life since my last post.

The elderly couple whose properties I had been maintaining both died, and one of the properties was sold, leaving me with not much to feel productive about. I had promised myself that after they were gone so was I, and it seems to be working out that way. Forty years of Maine winters is an awful lot.


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A cold day in heck.


So here I am on my birthday, in a putatively warmer clime, hunting for a house. It’s kind of cool today, I don’t think the temperature broke 70; but it was in the 90s all last week and it’s supposed to warm back up to the upper 80s again later this week. Beats the 30s and snow they’re having today back in Maine.

I stumbled across a small state park this afternoon. Not much there, but it supplied a respite from people and buildings for a little while. Worth the three dollar entrance fee: finally learning how to identify the three different kinds of mangrove that grow around here. I also ran across these little guys:


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A bunch of tiny crabs at the water’s edge at Don Pedro Island State Park.


This one was crossing the path in front of me as I headed back to the car:


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“You’ll never get the secret recipe outta me!”


I paid for that shot. After crawling around on all fours, sticking my macro lens in the claw of this arthropod, I found I couldn’t straighten up. I had to make my way back to the car crabwise. My back is still in spasm. Still, it was worth it.

Friday (I Can’t Believe I’m Gonna Say This) Catblogging

4 May 2007

Yes. Look closely. This is probably the only time you’ll see cats on this blog.

I wanted to show someone my image editing workflow in Linux, and I can’t just throw the pictures out now that I got ’em.

Smokey, being eeeevil:

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