Saturday, 13 February 2010

On the mystery mammals

A couple of days ago, I was mentally reviewing the various sections of AMUAM JuNITO completed to date, when I was struck by the fact that in all the major sections, there was an incident where I spotted a mammal whose species I could not precisely determine beyond reducing it to two plausible suspects. There was the coyote/wolf sighting on the B.C., the fin/blue whale sighting on the ferry to Newfoundland and the otter/muskrat sighting near the Breughel micro-brewery close to St-Germain de Kamouraska.

The land mammal sightings both involved favoured versus unfavoured species, in that I would rather that I saw a wolf and an otter than a coyote and a muskrat respectively. The former animals are far more "sexy" than the latter ones. Also, I know have seen coyote and muskrats at other times. Not so wolves and otters. (Incidentally, one of the times I have seen a coyote was from a train very close to Lester B. Pearson airport in Toronto!)

With regards to the whales, well, both fin and blue whales are bloody impressive animals. While fin whales are more common than blues, and thus "ordinary", as they are less well known than the superlative blues, thus giving them a certain mystique. Also, their asymmetric colouration makes them somewhat funky. (There is also an outside possibility that it might have been a sei whale, but apparently they are very rare in the Gulf of the Saint-Lawrence.)

Getting back to the point of this entry, I find it interesting that in the three out of four AMUAM JuNITO trips taken, I saw an interesting mammal that I could not definitive identify beyond two likely suspects. I wonder if there will be any such mystery mammal sightings when I go from Calgary to Winnipeg.


Margo and Chris said...

If you are lucky, there will be badgers!!!

Until I has a surveying job on the prairies, I had thought that badgers only existed in British children's literature, and that we didn't have them in Canada.

And there will be lots of birds of prey and spectacular sunsets. Most Canadians grossly underrate the Prairies, because they've only been across them at full tilt and with preconceived notions.



Bikemoose said...

The thing is badgers are relatively unlikely to be mistaken for something else. They are a bit like bald eagles in that respect: if you see one, you know you've seen one. Whereas a coyote could be confused with a wolf. ;-)

I do hope I see a badger though.