Monday, June 15, 2020

Officer, We Just Saw a Wolverine

Right, so the title of this post comes from an actual story,  but if you want to skip the rest just know this: if you saw it, and if you know you saw it, go ahead and report it and damn the torpedoes. Yes, of course, document, and get photos if you can (sometimes you cannot).  I recently posted a working breeding bird  list for New Jersey and people have been hitting me up like, where the hek was Bachman's sparrow? Where the hek are the Swainson’s warblers? Where the hek is the Merlin?

In the late 90’s or thereabouts I took my first trip to Colorado with my dear friends Dave Womer and Rex Miller. In theory we are three New Jersey boys, but in practice we are all three well travelled professional wildlife biologists and at least fairly good birders.

So we’re on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mount Nationsl Park and Rex says, and I quote,   (using the first amendment), “Holy shit that’s a fucking wolverine!“ And it was, unknown in Colorado at the time. It was during the transition from film to digital and I literally didn’t have any kind of camera at all on me and my friend Dave Womer had his but it was in the car and we’re watching this wolverine stalk across a cirque…

So that afternoon we stop in at the visitor center at Endovalley and report what we had seen and basically got totally laughed off.  I don’t blame the people, I mean we were from New Jersey right , so maybe we know how to fight (that will be another story for another time) but not how to identify a wolverine. But I did get annoyed when I said look, let’s  go to where we saw it, hike back in off the road, and photograph the track. They totally blew us off. Big mistake.

Because two years later a wolverine with a radio collar, from Wyoming , wandered into northern Colorado. It was happening, we saw a Wolverine and nobody believed us and to tell you the truth I’m still kind of aggravated about that.

Like I said at the start of this blog, I recently floated that that Merlin, Swainson’s Warbler, and Bachman’s Sparrow were either breeding in New Jersey or trying to. For concern of them being harassed, can't say exactly where.

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