Nature: Fisher family featured on Facebook 



The ‘dog days of August’ is not an expression you hear too often these days, but they were words that came to my mind this past week as temperatures became uncomfortable. Birds sing less frequently in August. Dragonflies become very noticeable this month and they can be quite fascinating to see flying about. 

I have a small pond on my property and it’s great fun watching the different kinds of dragonflies patrolling and catching their food. You can even see some species of dragonflies near the beach and flying over salt water. 

The big dragonflies I especially like are the largest we see locally, and they like to survey ponds and lakes and, sometimes, the seashore. They cannot bite you in this stage. Actually, they are very beneficial and are on a ‘mighty mission’ as they do their rounds looking for insects to eat. They consume large quantities of mosquitoes. As adults, dragonflies mate in midair and then live for only a few weeks or months at the most. 

While at rest, dragonflies hold their wings straight out from their bodies. They look like tiny airplanes ready for takeoff. They have fantastic eyesight. Years ago, we heard a lecture and saw slides by Dr. Langmuir in his summer home on Lake George, N.Y. And I shall never forget looking ‘through the eyes of the dragonfly’ in a film he had taken of this event with his special camera. It was amazing! 

I heard recently that someone had found a walking stick on one of their plants. haven’t seen a walking stick in a long time! Maybe it’s because they are mostly nocturnal. They are strange insects and do indeed look like sticks walking. Stick insects are usually wingless with long, skinny legs and antennae. Their disguise is so good you can easily miss seeing them even when very close to them. 

Berry pickers now often come across the beautiful little green snake resting on the branches. This snake is very gentle and does not bite. Take time to look at it and enjoy its beauty. It is one of the five snakes found on MDI. Normally the gentle green snake would be found in grassy places or lurking beneath logs, stones or other such places. You can safely handle it and it will not bite. Look at it and then put it back in its environment. It’s not eating the blueberries but catching insectscrickets and grasshoppers in the bushes. 

In these virus days and everything that we must do to avoid getting it, I have actually enjoyed much of the wildlife photos and stories coming my way on Facebook. One story about fishers especially caught my eye. This elusive mammal lives on MDI, but it is not frequently seen. A photographer in Maine has been sharing her photos on a site about Maine wildlife and I now feel as if I know the mammal and would easily recognize it if I’m lucky enough to see it someday. 

She found a family of fishers and has been able to film parents and young. I find it fascinating and very informative.  

Fishers are large weasels. It can also be called fisher cat. In size, it is larger than a normal cat and has a long, dense and glossy coat of fur. They mostly live in dense woods but will also be in second growth areas. They are active at night and eat a diet of carrion, deer, hares, squirrels, birds, amphibians, fish and apples. Their normal range to explore is about 8-15 miles in diameter. They are great travelers. I think you might find the Maine Wildlife Facebook site quite interesting. In these days of cell phones and ready cameras at everyone’s command, you just have to be ready and snap what you see. I started with a Brownie box camera and film and went through many other cameras that are now in a closet and the only camera being used is digital! Sometimes I miss being in control of the light and shade, etc., but so it is. 

I heard that a black-crowned night heron has been seen in Scarborough Marsh, so it is quite likely to see one here. This wading heron is quite interesting and beautiful. It is a bird to look for late in the day near waterIt’s a stocky heron standing on yellow legs with a black crown and back, white chest and fishspearing bill. Its eye is very red. They like rivers, wooded swamps and marshes. The last one I remember seeing was in Bernard, but I did have one stop in my pond one year to fish. They eat fishfrogs and crustaceans. As its name implies, look for it towards nightIt’s a beautiful bird to see. 

Send any questions or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742. 

 

Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Columnist
Send any questions or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742.
Ruth Grierson

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