Notes from the Field: Road Ecology of American Martens

Here are a few snippets and photos from the weeks I spent as a field assistant this summer. I was working on a live-trapping/radiotelemetry project on American martens in the Laurentians north of Quebec City, supervised by Dr. Jochen Jaeger from Concordia. We split our time between Parc National des Grands-Jardins and the Reserve Faunique des Laurentides, and we were focusing on removing the collars from the animals since the project was ending. These are the things I’ll remember…

-First of all, the martens!

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(I would not be handling this animal if it were not immobilized, and this photo was taken as I was about to remove it from the vehicle where it was being manipulated. The marten was not being unduly stressed by the handling/picture taking).

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-It rained for seven days straight at one point. I was pretty much always soggy and cold for that week.

-Beautiful hikes!!!

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-Climbing so. many. moose fences in order to get to and from our traps. That’s a real Canadian workout. I was grateful when it was convenient for me to use one of the actual gates.

-Reviving a hypothermic groundhog and getting to see her scurry back to munching on plants.

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IMG_9282.JPG(Photo creds to Benjamin Larue for this one)

-Spotting moose every couple of days on one particular back road. The best was when we crested one hill and had to stop for a moose, and then crested another and saw two bear cubs running into the forest.

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-About two and a half km along the dirt road behind our house at one of the sites was a ghost town (really just a few abandoned buildings and an old salmon run). It was really pretty, especially just after a storm.

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-Finding a thrush with an injured leg in the road and nursing it back to health for the day.

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-Pickng wild strawberries while walking to and from traps.

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-Driving one night to Chicoutimi to relax and wander through a music festival.

-Spotting all kinds of woodland creatures.

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-Exploring the Charlevoix, picking the most incredible blueberries, and visiting the emu farm.

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