Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Did You Know That Porcupines Climb Trees?

 About 10 years ago I was wandering around a logging road in a remote area of northern Maine with my cousin. We were looking up at a very tall, dead, tree and saw a strange looking creature in the process of climbing towards the top. At the time, we were baffled as to what it might be. We considered that it might be a porcupine but didn't know that they could climb trees. We thought porcupines were like woodchucks with sharp quills moving around slowly only on the ground.The animal we saw had its body extended and looked almost like a primate the way it climbed. We consulted with the owner of the fishing lodge and he informed us that porcupines are rodents capable of  swimming and are also excellent tree climbers.

During a recent trip to northern new Hampshire I had my second encounter with a porcupine. I was talking to one of the locals about my sighting and he told me that they are herbivores and that they like to chew on tree bark. He said that a porcupine once chewed up his boat paddle.You never know for sure if these local stories told to us "flatlanders" are true but they are entertaining either way. North American Porcupines are interesting creatures that make a variety of unusual vocal sounds. Follow this NatureWorks link on porcupines to learn more about them.
 We found him along Indian Stream road in the state forest along with dozens of warblers including: Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Blackburnian, and  Canada Warblers. 
 We stayed on Back Lake in Pittsburg. The sunset views were gorgeous and I managed to get my first look at a Black-backed Woodpecker during a walk along one of the roads near the shoreline. No picture to show for it though so it's not going on my life list yet. 
 There were 3 pair of loons on the lake but they only seemed to come close when it was cloudy out. 
 I was hoping they would follow the example of the Canada Goose and pose for me. Northern New Hampshire is one of my favorite areas in new England so I'm sure I'll return to visit the loons again in the future.

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