Posts Tagged ‘It’s Wolverine Wednesday!’

It’s Wolverine Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

New growth by the lake does not at first translate into spring in the high country!  As we wait for suitable conditions to retrieve our remaining bait stations, many great events this month and next kickoff the onset of summer!

Join us this May 14th as the 2014 State of the Scotchman’s hosts Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson, a 2013 Pacific Crest Trail record-breaker for the fastest unsupported thru-hike of the PCT in it’s history.  On May 31st, we kickoff trail stewardship of Star Peak and more, with our Trails Skills Workshops‘ Crosscut, Chain saw, and Hand tool review and tips, followed the next day with our Guided Hike Series hike ‘how-to’s’ basics and safety reviews.  Camp with us and enjoy grilled burgers and fireside entertainment.

Our Guided Hike Series and Educational classes are ongoing this summer, and of course we hope to see all our Friends as BradBell3we celebrate wilderness at beautiful Bull Lake, MT July 11th-13th.  We have Trail Stewardship days and Treasured Landscapes restoration to keep our hands helping this season as well!  And get ready for one fantastic evening this fall as we tour on gorgeous Lake Pend Orielle Cruises’ Shawnodese to the Clark Fork delta for a view of the Scotchman’s, enjoy hors d’oeuvres  and entertainment, and hopefully spy wildlife critters stirring as the sun begins to set.

That’s just the tip of of it!

And as we transition into the summer season, I hope you’ll join me for our weekly weekend blog, Winds in the Wilderness, as we keep up on all the current good works going on in our beautiful Wilderness with Friends of the Scotchman Peaks all around!

Thanks everyone!

Keep wild for now!


Its Wolverine Wednesday!

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

A week of sun and warming temperatures have our snow-WW$mobilers a bit nervous!  Nontheless, another bait camera was retrieved over this last week, thanks to the perseverance of FSPW volunteers Jim Mellen and Kevin Davis.

Jim Mellen offered to help in the stead of a previous volunteer, who unfortunately had a little too much fun this winter, skiied a little too hard, and ended up with a torn ACL.  Get better, Hank!!!


Initial analysis of the data images from their bait plot showed marten, a snowshoe hare, and squirrel appearances.WW@

Our Photo Warrior this week was Holly Clements.  Thanks for your time and keen eye, Holly!

3 more bait plots will filter in over the next few weeks, but there is no knowing when just now.  Keep your eyes open for what’s happening next week!

Stay Wild!



Its Wolverine Wednesday! Award Winning Volunteers…

Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Time flies when you are having fun!

This week FSPW honored all the remarkable Friends, old and new, who have stepped forward to work and support this year’s Wolverine Watch.  It was a lot of fun getting together, and special awards were given out during the evening for volunteers who stood out for one reason or another.  Drum roll, please….


‘Badass’ Award: Kristin Litz and Robin Carleton, for setting up and taking down (in a day-long rain!) one of our most remote bait plots via 100% human power, on skiis!  Thanks Kristin and Robin!

‘Gnarliest Volunteer Ever’ (the gnar-gnar award) : Jim Mellen, for his incredible audacity and trekking the most miles in this year’s study.  Jim Mellen is responsible for the completion of 1/3 of all our bait plots, and without him this effort would not have been neaqr the success it has become.  Thanks Jim!

‘Best Team Spirit’ (the rah-rah award) : Team Gulo Gulo, for their inspiring Team Spirit, team-building, fun and positive attitude, and outstanding support for this study 3 seasons strong!  Thanks team Gulo Gulo!

‘Most Creative Machinist’ (the ah-ha! award) : Ron Mamajek, for thinking out of the box to help tow out a crew’s stuck Chevy Tahoe with his (wife’s) Suburu.  Thanks for the over-and-above assistance, Ron!

Of course, everyone deserved and award, because FSPW Citizen Scientists and Stewards give 100% effort in all that they do!  Therefore, Project Coordinator Kristen Nowicki was assisted by two wonderful youth volunteers, Noah (age 7) and Quin (age 4) in crafting small gifts for everyone who came.  If you had to miss this event, stop by the office for your felt wolverine, who serves to spread the word about these amazing creatures and their amazing home to up and coming generations.

More bait plots are coming down this week, so look for those findings in next week’s blog.  Thank you to our Photo Warrior this week, Denise Z


It’s Wolverine Wednesday! Fun in the sun…

Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Another bait camera has come down over the past week along with several more corridor cameras.  To date, four bait stations and 1 corridor station remain to be taken down.  The data that has been analyzed has a variety of results.

Dave Kretzschmar and his crew headed up a corridor camera on the east side of the proposal.  Although scattered tracks were identified in the camera vicinity, their camera did not catch any movement over its time out.  That’s the way it goes sometimes… it’s hard to study things that move!elk

Celeste and her crew retrieved their camera on the SE end of the proposal.  Although in the proximity of our recent cougar camera sighting, the camera included only ungulates.  Nonetheless, this bait camera does have the honor of capturing this season’s first elk!

Jamie Jarolick’s crew retrieved their camera nearby our proposal’s namesake mountain.  Hiking in, they came across a deer carcass that made them suspect of what they had captured on the camera.  Jamie analyzed the data from the card, and two moose and a coyote later, they concluded that the perpetrator of deer had likely escaped unseen.

sledmudMike Wolcott and FSPW Project Coordinator Kristen Nowicki removed the fourth bait station on Friday.  Getting to the plot required overcoming a couple of obstacles along the way, including a mud slide and random road patches without any snow for their snowmachines.  beaver!







But the day got better, and the 100% chance of rain broke into occasional sunshine and warm temperatures throughout the day.  When their data card was analyzed, our Photo Warrior Deborah identified a new critter for out 2014 plots, the Ermine!

ermin1ermine2Other guests to our bait station included fisher and rabbit!

Thanks to all these hardworking and concerned Citizen Scientists composing our Wolverine Crews and Photo Warriors!  Don’t forget, FSPW is throwing a party to thank all of you next Tuesday, April 8th, at Eichardt’s Pub and Grill in Sandpoint.  Join in and enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and learn about our experiences and results as we wrap up the 2013-14 winter season.   Check our events page for details!

STAY WILD!photo 1




It’s Wolverine Wednesday! Spring melt…

Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

FSPW Wolverine crews are back on the trail, with several bait and corridor camera stations coming down over the last weekend.

For our Corridor Camera Stations, Phil Hough and his crew, Geoff Harvey and his crew, and team Gulo Gulo all brought in data cards for our Photo Warriors to view.  Gulo Gulo’s camera had recorded some deer, but the cougar they caught on the camera a few weeks ago didn’t make his presence known again.  Phil Hough’s crew’s camera, placed above a moose bed, finally captured some images of the ol’ ungulate.  Geoff Harvey’s crew’s results are yet to be analyzed, look for that data next week!  Thank you to all these crews for their great attitudes, hard work, and commitment to stewardship!

regal corridor group shot

moose corridor






For our Bait Camera Stations, BCS # 7 team Kristin Litz and Robin Carlton of Missoula, and BCS # 6 team and Ray Libby and Erick Dickinson made it into the wilderness and back with their data over the last week.  Lots and lots (and lots of lots of) marten, very pleased about these research efforts (no doubt), graced the station with an appetite for beaver and a free meal.  fisher

BC # 7 also has the honor of capturing a fisher, the second fisher for FSPW Citizen Scientist crews this season.  This station was one of our most remote stations, and these two went all-star-human-powered style to their plot and back both times.  And with their second visit being in mid-thirty degree temperatures and a constant rainy rain, these two are most definitely in the running for the 2014 Badass Award!  Not only are they great Citizen Scientists, they are also really good photographers!  Check them out at their Facebook page.  Thank you guys for all your hard work, perseverance, and can-do attitudes.

Martn Day

And a final big Thank You to our Photo Warriors, Holly Clements and Celeste Grace, for all of your office time and keen observations over the last couple of weeks!

Until next week, keep your eyes open and your minds wild!

Marten night

It’s Wolverine Wednesday! Come Rain, Sleet, or Snow…

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

And come more snow, more sleet, ice, 40mph winds, negative air temps, more snow, and lots and LOTS of rain.  Come a landscape fraught with avalanche hazards (once again).  Crews are tucked quietly away in the meantime, waiting for better conditions for plot removal.  And Photo Warriors are at attention, waiting for the action to explode.

What better time than this for another Cool Carnivore Critter?  This mustelid has already made an appearance at a couple of our wildlife stations, and I suspect we will be seeing more of her in photos to come…

The Pacific Fisher, Martes pennanti.

Historic ranges for Fisher include much of Canada, the northern United States, and the western United States. Current populations are significantly lower than these original distributions, with the animals having suffered habitat loss due to timber harvesting activities, species decline due to trapping, and range reduction due to habitat fragmentation.

1r-fisher-23zwo6cFisher utilize a wide variety of habitats, and, for this animal, the structure of the habitat may be more important for their needs than the actual plant species composition.  Fisher are more often found in late-successional stage forests, where there are lots of opportunity for denning sites and good prey availability.  They are generally found at low to mid-elevations, and often times they seem to prefer steeper slopes, nearby water sources, and dependable winter snowpack.  They tend to prefer coniferous or mixed forest stands with good cover, and tend to avoid open areas and hardwood stands.

Fisher-kits-Jun-08When it comes to food sources, the Fisher is a generalist.  Food sources vary according to location, but common meals for this animal may include rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds, insects, carrion, fungi, plants and berries.  A few larger carnivores, coyote, wolverine, lynx, and mountain lion, may be incidental predators of the fisher.

Fisher spend most of there lives as solo individuals, getting together with other fishers primarily to seek out mates.  Fisher kits are born late winter-early spring.  A mother Fisher bears litters of 1-3 kits.  Kits are weened by 3 months, and usually conduct dispersal by 1 year of age.  It is possible for a Fisher to live up to ten years.

Can you identify a Fisher?  Males are generally slightly bigger than females, but on average these animals are 29-47 inches long, weighing anywhere from 3.5 to 13 pounds.  They can be light brown to darker brownish-black.  They often have greying fur around their faces and white fur patches on their underside.  Their legs are short and their tails are long and bushy.    Common look a-likes are the American Marten and the American Mink.  Can you tell which is which?







It’s Wolverine Wednesday: Look who we found!

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

FSPW’s Rare Carnivore Study had a great find last week!  At one of our Corridor Camera Stations, a new carnivore has been captured on camera!

Team Gulo Gulo, in their outstanding commitment to research and the proposed wilderness area, have set up two cameras in the southeastern portion of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness area.  And they have been checking on the cameras as well, which is how they came across their most recent finding…cougar2

A Cougar!

Is this is the first incidence recording of Puma concolor that our volunteers have obtained throughout our four-year involvement with the Multispecies Baseline Initiative?  Many, many pictures of deer came first, and then their hungry pursuer.  What a great find for one of our twelve Corridor Cameras around the Scotchman Peaks proposal.cougar1


The cards will begin coming in at a higher frequency during the coming weeks, as crews conduct station removal in time for the March 31st deadline and submit their data cards for review.  Photo Warriors have received a notice of impending summons, and I’ve still got my fingers crossed for some cool forest critter discoveries!

In the meantime, while we wait to peek at more photos, don’t forget to mark the date:  April 8th will be our 2013-2014 Wolverine Watch results party!  Everyone who has been involved in, supported, or followed FSPW and partner groups Citizen Scientist involvement in this project is encouraged to attend!  Meet some of our Citizen Scientists, learn about our results, and congratulate the recipients of the 2013-14 Badass Award which will be given out sometime during the evening.  Check our Events page on our website for times and location.

It’s Wolverine Wednesday! Here, kitty kitty…

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

All is quiet on the Wolverine front.  Stations are set, and if I am silent enough, late at night, I believe I can hear the whizzing and clicking of the motion-detected camera, affixed to a lodgepole pine at 5,531 feet elevation, under a thick grey sky and the constant coercion of mountain winds.  A snowflake tumbles whimsically down, the forest sounds are muffled in snowy insulation, and with a faint hum the sensors alight as a short, furry mustelid carves footprints into the snow approaching the bait tree.  It is hungry, and climbing toward sustenance…

But for now, we will need to wait and see whether it is all just a dream or not.  And, for now, I have felines on the brain, due in part to recent trappings and radio-collaring of the federally threatened Lynx.  So this week’s blog will feature the Canadian Lynx as our second in the series, Cool Carnivore Critters.220px-Canadian_lynx_by_Keith_Williams

The Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis) is built for the northland.  Huge paws, nearly twice as big as its cousin, the bobcat, help this animal float on top of the snow.  A thick fur coat transforms with the seasons into excellent camouflage, and hides the lynx as it goes about its life. With a body size of 18-24 inches high, 30-36 inches long, and weighing in at about 20 pounds, the lynx is slightly larger than a very large house cat.

At elevations above 4,000 feet, the lynx prowls from dusk until dawn through subalpine fir, spruce and lodgepole pine forests.  Her den is in a mature forest stand, where the thick canopy and large downed debris protect her from severe weather.  As the sun sets she awakes, hungry, and approaches the boarders of this stand where canada-lynx-and-snowshoe-hare_dynamic_lead_slidedisturbances and other phenomenon have setback the successional development of the forest to an earlier sere; the trees are younger and shorter and there is more bare ground and more shrubbery.  Here is the home territory of the lynx’s primary food source:  the snowshoe hare.

Abundance of snowshoe hare, in combination with other variables, influence mortality rates as well as birth rates for the Canadian Lynx.  When snowshoe hare populations are scarce, lynx may feed on grouse, owl, squirrel, mice, voles, fisher, red fox, ungulates, and carrion.  Predators of the lynx include wolves, mountain lions, and wolverines.

baby-lynx_232_600x450-1Typically, a mother lynx bears litters of one to two kittens.  Kittens are born from May to July, and stay with their mother for 9-10 months, over their first winter, to nurse and to learn how to hunt.  When they leave their mothers, they may disperse up to six miles.  Although lynx are generally solitary except during reproduction and mating, a female may remain in contact with her offspring throughout her lifetime.  Home territories for lynx vary greatly depending on sex, prey abundance, topography, etc, ranging from 9-136 square miles.  Lynx are estimated to cover distances of up to 600 miles in their travels.

Recently, two incidences of trappers accidentally catching lynx have occurred in our region.  The Canadian Lynx is protected federally, listed as Threatened in our area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  These trappers did the right thing by notifying the appropriate agency officials.  Read more about that story at this link.

Keep listening for more clicks and hums up in the mountains, and check in again with us next week!!!  Thank you Friends, for all that you do!