Archive for December 15th, 2011

Lynx Sighting!

photo credit: Conway Daily Sun/NH Fish & Game

Although Canada lynx do exist in Maine, they are extremely rare and most Mainers will go an entire lifetime and never see a lynx.  Which is why I can’t believe my good fortune – – I’ve seen two in two years, the most recent just two nights ago!  In both cases, I was driving at night when a lynx suddenly dashed across the road.  The darkness of the night, combined with the speed of the lynx meant that unfortunately I was unable to get a picture, so you will just have to believe me when I say it was definitely a lynx in each instance.

Today’s Conway Daily Sun (New Hampshire) has an article about Canada lynx, which I’ve reprinted below.  Recently there were sightings in northern NH, and since I’m only 6 miles from the ME-NH border and our property abuts the White Mountain National Forest, it doesn’t surprise me.  It’s always a thrill to spot wildlife in the wild!

Canada lynx documented in Northern New Hampshire

Dec 14, 2011 4:55 pm

CONCORD — N.H. Fish and Game biologists have confirmed the presence of four Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) in northern New Hampshire. The fact that the lynx appeared to be kittens is evidence that the wild cats are breeding in the Granite State, an expansion of the population across the border in Maine.

This month and last, four lynx were seen and photographed in two locations in Pittsburg, on two different dates. It is unknown whether the four were the same on the two occasions, but it seems likely based on the close proximity of the sightings.

“The presence of lynx in New Hampshire demonstrates the effectiveness of the wildlife and habitat work that’s been done in this region over many years. It’s exciting!” said Fish and Game wildlife biologist Will Staats. “We expected the population to expand into the state eventually, and we’ve been seeing signs for a few years that they were at least passing through.”

Since 2006, there have been seven cases where lynx tracks have been seen and photographed in New Hampshire’s North Country. In spring of this year, Staats himself witnessed an adult lynx crossing a rural road up north.

“Until now, we’ve considered lynx in New Hampshire to represent animals that were wandering from the larger lynx population that is present in Maine as a result of recent declines in snowshoe hare abundance,” said Anthony Tur, biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lynx are highly reliant on snowshoe hare as a food source. There are an estimated 600 to 1,200 lynx in Maine, concentrated in the northern part of the state.

“Lynx are an amazing predator, and they were historically a small but significant part of the wildlife mix in New Hampshire,” said Steve Weber, chief of Fish and Game’s wildlife division. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Weber stated, “We’re actively monitoring lynx in the state and taking steps to ensure the health and growth of the population.”

“Serendipitously, Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program recently received funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to initiate formal surveys for lynx,” John Kanter, nongame program coordinator, said. “The sightings add a note of excitement to our efforts. The nongame program’s recent fund-raising appeal centered on the lynx project, and the timing of this discovery will hopefully help to engage more wildlife enthusiasts as supporters and donors to the program.”

Lynx are listed as “endangered” in New Hampshire and as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act. They occurred in small numbers in New Hampshire through the 1960s; the last documented lynx in New Hampshire was a road-killed animal found in 1993.

At about three feet long and 15 to 30 pounds, Canada lynx are at least twice the size of the average house cat. They have long, strong legs; short tails; prominent ear tufts; and long sideburn-style hair on the sides of their face. Lynx are often recognized by their huge, furry paws, which help them travel over deep snow.

Because of lynx’s reliance on snowshoe hare, their preferred habitat is young, regenerating forests that offer excellent hare habitat. New Hampshire is at the southern end of the Canada lynx’s natural range.

A Little Maine Hu-muh

Yes, people from Maine realize they talk funny and love to make fun of themselves and their “downeast” accents.  I took this photo yesterday in Renys, a Maine discount store.

In case you haven't figured it out, that's "fire starter."