View Full Version : Is this a marten?

07-08-2012, 06:24 PM
I saw this guy along the Randolph Path between Short Line and the bridge. It bound down the trail a few feet before climbing I think it's ears look too big to be a mink even though it was fairly close to water. It wasn't too big so I don't think fisher. I never saw marten. I only ever saw one mink terrorizing my chickens a few years ago. I occasionally see fisher cross roads at night here in Maine.3930

07-08-2012, 06:45 PM
Almost certain that is a pine marten. Nice find! Good thing it didn't get into your pack. They are worse than mice in my opinion.

07-08-2012, 06:51 PM
It sure looks like one to me. Martins tend to hang out in softwood forests (usually res squirrels are their prey) and are the only mustelids that normally hang out in trees.

They also seem to not be that afraid of people, once they get up in a tree they usually will hang around and check out whomever is in their territory. There was thread on VFFT last winter with photos of one of them eating a hole in someones pack and grabbing a snack at the junction of the A to Z trail and Mt Toms spur.

07-08-2012, 07:35 PM
I'm glad it didn't get my pack since I was wearing it the entire time I was observing it. It did just kind of look at me from the tree, occasionally scratching and looking around. When I moved for better angle it moved so I'm glad I could get the few pics I did and they are fairly clear.

07-08-2012, 08:24 PM
Definitely a mustelid. I agree ears are too big for mink; long-tailed weasel is a possibility, but they're smaller than marten or mink. Also, finding a weasel up a tree is usually a good indicator that it's a martin or a fisher. Long-tails and Short-tails can and do climb, but not as often. Guessing the size based on the scales of the pine tree, marten looks about right - it's too small for fisher.

Neat to see how their fur turns darker in summer. I'm the one who interrupted one raiding my pack this winter:
Pine Marten in the Willey Range (http://www.davidalbeck.com/photos/2012/willeys/) (scroll down)

07-08-2012, 08:56 PM
Absolutely American Marten. You caught the head and ears in a way that pretty much rules anything else out. The head is actually not very different from that of a fisher, but fisher color and size are so different that I think your pic nails the little guy. Nice shot!

07-08-2012, 09:57 PM
Enjoy your moment with the marten. It may be a while until the next one, as they are often shy around humans in my experience. I've seen a grand total of four in the woods during this millennium and the last one.

07-09-2012, 08:58 AM
Had one of those basically run up to me at Nauman one morning. He hung out for about 30 seconds and took off. I knew it was a rare moment. Very cool. Also had a saw whet owl land on a low branch right next to me at the same platform a year later. Another awesome moment. Pays to be alone if you want the wildlife to come around. Being quiet is key.

07-09-2012, 11:14 AM
Looks like one to me. You're so very lucky to see one. They are very illusive creatures.

I've seen only two in 30+ years of living in New England and hiking here in the Whites. Many years back - one near our front yard - it was being pursued by a murder of crows. The other - two winters ago below Mt Tom on the Avalon/AZ Trail, after being accidentally treed by our friend's playful Border Collie.

Bob Kittredge
07-10-2012, 09:08 AM
In June of '11 I was descending the Twinway just below the spur to Zeacliff Pond when I saw a flash of fur up ahead of me. Too big for a red squirrel. I froze and was rewarded when a smallish (juvenile?, female?) marten came up the trail toward me. Very handsome light brown fur. Got about 10' from me before she noticed me and ducked into the woods.

07-10-2012, 05:47 PM
What a co´ncidence, I saw a pine marten yesterday morning somewhere on Short Line trail (I don't remember precisely where, but I think it was shortly after Short Line leaves Randolph Path). It did the same thing: climbed a tree, then looked at me, exactly like the one on your picture. Then he downclimbed and ran away.

Could be the same marten! :)