Dirt in your skirt blog

Stalking a ?

Posted on May 29, 2012 by Margaret Schlachter

My workout of the day was not the highlight it was easily overshadowed by one small furry animal in my backyard. After getting back from a run over in Pittsfield for a couple hours I was on my porch relaxing looked over and saw a new furry friend. Animals are not a strange occurrence in my backyard in only two weeks I have seen a huge wild turkey and many squirrels, birds, and a woodpecker. However, today I saw something new!

While sitting on the porch this furry friend appeared. Looking over I had no idea what it was I did what anyone of my generation would do, pull out my phone, snap a photo and post the picture on Facebook and let a panel of my peers evaluate the picture. Of course, I tried to zoom in on the picture turning it into a Bigfoot looking blurry photo making this elusive creature evening more elusive. Well this afternoon I had everything from a beaver, muskrat, woodchuck, to the more elusive nutria rat, chupacabra, to the even more elusive Vermont chupacabra, and finally a honey badger according to my Facebook friends. As these answers flooded my timeline, I started looking on all the fish and wildlife pages for the state of Vermont.

Unhappy and unable to determine what this animal was and listening to all these options of what it could be I ultimately decided the best thing to do was to stalk the animal to get a better view. In hind site I do not recommend stalking any sort of animal especially if you do not know what it is. However, I don’t always do what is the safest thing, I did make sure to keep my distance the whole time and keep a safe cushion. I could hear that it was still close to the house just in the woods. (It didn’t try very hard to silently move through the brush) I stepped off the porch realizing flip flops in the grass were too loud, I silently slid them off and attempted to move quietly in search of this elusive animal.

I am lucky I live alone. If someone were to see me this afternoon creeping through the lawn into the woods the video would surely already be on YouTube. I did my best impression of the island people from LOST each step trying not to disturb a twig. As I got into the woods the animal was nowhere to be found but it was close. I perched myself on a tall rock (small boulder) and waited. The bugs started to swarm me but it did not deter my quest. This was simulanteously the most fun and most redicious thing I have done in a long time. As I texted my boyfriend to let him in on my quest, there it was!

The little guy was hunched on a rock across from me about fifteen or twenty feet down the hill. I moved ever so slowly with my phone in hand. Damn it, the animal was still too far away for a good shot. So I waited as it came a little closer. At this point I think I had at least a bakers dozen black fly bites all over. The animal drew nearer and the photo ops ensured. Finally it was perched at the bottom of my little boulder and I was able to capture a good headshot. It was as if this animal was camera ready.

I ran back barefoot to the house and uploaded the photo again to Facebook and let my panel of experts examine. Around now I realized this is the last time I post shots of an unknown animal on Facebook and ask my friends for advice. I was ready for them to start calling it a snipe so I made that comment to get it out of the way first. As the comments came in I saw it back near my stonewall, at this time my boyfriend called and answered in a whisper. He asked what I was doing, and I responded, stacking the animal. He was concerned I was outside and close to it, I said it wasn’t a problem as at this point I was stalking it from the safety of inside my house.

Finally, with both pictures and a friend who wasn’t there to tease, pretty sure it was a fisher. When one friend proclaimed it a fisher they also wrote, “They are rarer than snipes. Usually demon possessed. Sound like a loon at night. Definitely a fisher.” and “Yep, Fisher cat. We have them in our backyard too. They scream at night like a child being tortured, it is so erie. They are vicious things- keep your kitties away!”

So there you have it, a fisher has been added to the list of animals seen in my backyard. Luckily, I don’t own an animal so as long as it plays nice I will play nice. Way more exciting than talking about a run in the woods. Today was about going primal and stalking strange animals in the woods. Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up!