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Category Archives: Wildlife

Scat Whisperers

Front Porch Forum is a way to connect with neighbors on community efforts, local issues, and…scat identification? One curious neighbor asked for help discovering what kind of animal had been in their backyard, and got a huge and helpful response on their neighborhood forum! Check out the story below.

“Well, if you want to gather a crowd, just show up with a little scat.

I received 17 unique offers of help analyzing the scat photo. Each was serious and wonderfully curious in their pursuit of an answer.

The identifications offered included: skunk, raccoon, feral cat, weasel, coyote, red fox, grey fox and bobcat, after our neighbor reminded me that we had a beautiful bobcat sitting in a maple across from our barn a year ago.. Catamount was ruled out.

Several folks forwarded the picture to several other more expert folks who responded with a more focused belief that it was either a skunk or a raccoon but most likely a raccoon.

My thanks to everyone who replied to my ask. It was great to touch base with so many old friends that, due to circumstances, have been out of touch.

FPF is a force for good and re-tightening community. Thank you.” • Phil in Craftsbury, Vt.

Have a question you could use some input on? Try asking neighbors on your local FPF.


Signs of Spring Arrival

The days are getting longer, crocuses and bluets are springing up from the ground, and birds are returning to the Northeast from their winter vacations: signs of spring! Neighbors are sharing their observations. Have you seen any signs of spring? These FPF members have:

I’m so grateful to be a part of this community in this time. Thanks to you all. Also! I really love spring, and I miss the spring arrivals board at Sterling College. So…I have a poster board at the Genny up for us all to document our observations of spring (bring your own pen). I also created a google doc that I think should be accessible to all to add observations.

Let’s not let the craziness of this spring allow us to miss this gorgeous and amazing time of year!”  • Hannah in Craftsbury, Vt.

Sunrise.

Late-spring snowfall, inspired ways to keep the kids busy, crocuses, and random acts of beauty and neighborly kindness.

Home schooling, long walks.

A creative home desk made from–wait, is that an ironing board?

That’s what Middlesex looks like this spring as we all hunker down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Check out these creative shots of our community taken by your Middlesex neighbors, at:

https://www.whatsnextmiddlesex.org/calendar–pictures.html

Enjoy!”   • Susan in Middlesex, Vt.

Share your spring sightings and observations on your Front Porch Forum today!


Sasquatch Stolen

Every now and then we see crime report postings on FPF. This one caught our eye!

“Sometime between Friday night, 6:36pm and Saturday 6:00pm, our 8 foot tall 3/4” plywood silhouette of Sasquatch was stolen from our yard.  Contact us if you have seen him or her.”  • Paul in So. Wheelock

This is also not the first time Front Porch Forum members have posted about Sasquatch:

“I heard from a woman whose son and several classmates saw a Sasquatch behind the Elementary School last winter and a man who has heard house-rattling screams late at night. “  • Christopher in East Calais


Peach theft in North Bennington… brings out the best in neighbors

An FPF member’s peach tree was stripped of fruit in Bennington County recently, so she posted to her neighbors… then followed up a couple days later:

Normally I would say North Bennington is about the nicest place to live. But today I discovered that someone stole all the peaches from my one brand new peach tree. REALLY, how lousy can one be? I do not think there were enough peaches to prevent anyone from starving, but I was looking forward to a tiny peach pie after the first year of carefully tending my tree. To make it worse, the thief broke the branches of the little tree in their haste. There are enough reasons to doubt the humanity of our world these days, and this experience is just totally disheartening. Shame on you, thief.
• Christine, North Bennington

What an outpouring of caring comments following my Front Porch Forum posting! I think more people wrote me wonderful notes about my peach loss, than there were actually peaches on the tree! Some thought it was a bear, some said squirrels, some said hungry people, and some just felt badly about the whole thing. But it has all come around and I feel surrounded by very special people, so thank you all. I think I”ll plant several more trees next year, and let life happen. thanks!
• Christine, North Bennington


Wonders in the wood

Front Porch Forum members marvel at the mysteries of local wildlife and wildflowers:

“Tonight was special when it comes to wildlife.  Saw two otters which are always a treat. As it was getting dark and the otters were aware of me and keeping their distance, I saw a large bird take flight from the opposite shore. The light was getting low so all I could see was a very large bird, consistent with a heron in the poor light, cross the pond and then turn up the shore toward us. It flew right past us and cleared the tree line directly across from me at less than 20 yards. Clear as a bell; Bald Eagle. A wonderful evening for me and proof of the wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities here.” • Robert in West Bolton

And this past Spring: “Took a walk tonight, enjoying a respite between spring showers and was enjoying the many woodland areas covered in those tiny blue flowers. Met up with a neighbor who was walking her dog and we both delighted in them but could not identify them. She suggested that I post it to FPF when I came up with it. So here it is:
Siberian Squill (scilla siberica) is the lovely, little blue flower — a deeper blue — with nodding heads, looking down. Their blooming neighbor, another tiny blue flower, but a lighter shade, and with upturned face with a white star in the center is Glory of the Snow (chionodoxa).” • Pat in Burlington

Share your observations of the Vermont beauty around us on FPF.


Raising awareness about ticks

FPF members are sharing news in their neighborhoods on how to deal with ticks.

“After talking to area residents we think reporting tick bites will help us know and get a feel for our local situation. It would be helpful to answer all or some of these questions. 

– When were you bitten?

– Where do you think you picked up the tick?

– Were you wearing repellent?

– Do you know what kind it was? (Example – Deer Tick/Black Legged Tick, Dog Tick, Lone Star Tick, etc. Google to identify.)

– Did you take the tick to a health center or send it in to be tested (University Of Mass is one place that tests)?

Please report onto your neighborhood Front Porch Forum to help raise awareness. See a very interesting and informative graph for Vermont that updates Every week.” • Susan in Waitsfield

Keep alert and informed during tick season!


Hibernating bear wakes up

“A Front Porch Forum post (from Kim in Shelburne) warning neighbors about the possible wandering bear yielded almost twenty email responses. Though she was the only one to actually see evidence of the animal, she said people were very interested in her experience.

Early spring flooding and warmer weather can bring the bears out, but colder weather will drive them back to sleep until an extended period of warmth — spring — occurs.

If you see a bear, or signs of a bear, there’s no need to panic or call Fish and Wildlife. Mary (with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department) said, “It’s cool to see them. Be careful that animals don’t get in the way of the bear, and enjoy seeing wildlife.”  • As reported in the Shelburne News

Will the recent warmer temps awaken more bears? Keep your neighbors updated on FPF!


Dead porcupine on road

A Front Porch Forum member recently alerted neighbors of the potential…

“For any of you crafters who use porcupine quills to make jewelry, the guy has lots to offer!”  • Johanna in Newfane

You never know what your FPF neighbors might find useful!


How did Fisher get to be called a cat?

The members of FPF‘s Calais neighborhood have been having lively discussions about this creature found in Vermont’s woods!

Conversation began with this simple post alerting neighbors:
A fisher cat has returned and has been seen behind my small pond down the hill from the closed road in North Calais.”  • Reid

Followed by a flurry of topics related to the “Fisher Cat”: 
“”fisher cats” is a common, but incorrect, misnomer. The fisher is a fairly large member of the weasel family, and bears no relationship whatsoever to cats…” • Warner

“I was interested in why they have been mistakenly called cats. Are there physical similarities? Are the sounds similar? Perhaps the use got transferred to large feral cats….Just wondered..” • Mary

“With all the emphasis on “cat”..my question now is — Why fisher…? Do they fish?” • Heather

“My first thought upon seeing yet more posts about fishers was, “Oh, no!” but I found myself laughing out loud…I think I will name the next cat that comes into my life “Fisher” as in “Fisher (the) Cat…” • Craig

Nothing like lively conversation on Front Porch Forum to connect us with our neighbors!