This morning I went birding and found a fisher! I was lying low, observing the bird life at a local pond. After lying still for more than an hour, I saw the fisher running across the ice. It was headed straight for me! As it got close, the fisher noticed me at the edge of the pond. It frantically slid to a stop, tossing fresh fallen snow high into the air. Then it turned around and ran back in the direction it had come from. When it reached the opposite side of the pond, it stopped to look at me again. It seemed to be saying, "What are you doing here?" Then it ran up a hill and eventually out of sight.
Fishers are members of the weasel family. They are rather large and notoriously vicious. Fishers can weigh up to 16 pounds and be nearly four feet in length. They primarily eat squirrels. In the 1800's fishers were extinct in Massachusetts. Since that time, due to more strict trapping laws, the fisher population has been steadily increasing. While their numbers have increased dramatically in the past twenty years, sightings of fishers are still rare. They are very elusive and secretive animals.
This is only the second fisher that I have seen. The other frequented my back yard a few years ago. It was much darker in color than the fisher I photographed this morning. It would skirt across my backyard, following the edge of the pond. In less than ten seconds it would be out of sight. I am not sure who was more surprised by this encounter, me or the fisher. This encounter might have lasted as long as thirty seconds. It was quite thrilling!