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Friday, February 25, 2011

0827: My Favorite Marten, Epsisode I

Elaina listening for signals from collared martens
 I am just a hair too young to have watched "My Favorite Martian" on TV, but not too old to enjoy 36 hours in the Adirondacks learning about marten and fisher with my family and another FLCC peer. Sasha arrived in our driveway at 7AM Wednesday morning and 20 minutes later we were heading to the Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) near Newcomb, NY. Owned and operated by ESF, the AEC is home to classes and research projects. Our purpose was to meet up with one of our alums, Elaina Burns, who has been working as a field technician on a marten and fisher research project since December.

Laura, Danika and Sasha
The drive from Seneca Falls took about 4 hours. We settled into our cabins and had a leisurely lunch before strapping on our snowshoes and exploring our "backyard". We quickly found tracks of marten and coyote. After this much needed break, we got back in the car for the five minute drive to the interpretive center where we walked the Sucker Brook trail and found tracks of bobcat, marten, mouse, snowshoe hare and coyote. It was a picture perfect day with blue skies and a layer of powder over a thick crust of frozen snow.

When we returned to our cabins, we played euchre until Elaina came back from the field. She helped us set out the two trail cameras I brought in likely locations. Trimmings from our steak dinner were added to increase the chances that I would capture an image, given that I only had one night to work with. The steak did the trick and I ended up with several images of a collared marten, # 0827. 0827 is a male, lives right behind the cabins and is named after the frequency of his collar (these are the numbers after the decimal point). Check out the photos below:

Note antenna from VHF collar
In this first photo,0827's antenna is clearly visible over his left shoulder. Also check out the trail he made to get to this spot. He came down from the little rise behind him and you can see the drag marks of his body in the deep snow. Martens change color from winter to summer. In the winter, they appear to have black socks on.

Collar clearly visible. Martens have long nails for climbing trees

In this photo, you can clearly see the transmitter on the collar. Most of that bulk is battery. Check back soon for more posts about this trip.

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