Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Friend Marten

Strolling on the back road this evening my path was crossed by a fast-scurrying creature that hid in the bushes before I could get a good look. Before my inner naturalist could cry, though, I noticed another of the species staring down at me from the cliff face. This second one popped up on its hind legs and engaged me in a wordless conversation before racing off to join his companion.

This encounter occured the one time I decided to take my walk without my camera. As soon as I reached home I made a sketch in MS Paint:

I then began making my way through Wikipedia's List of Mammals of Bhutan. The black giant squirrel and the yellow-bellied weasel both had the right colouration but were too small and just not quite right. Species identification is like any good puzzle: when you've found the right answer, you know you've found it. I now know that I met a hunting pair of Martes flavigula, yellow-throated martens:

Image source: Wikipedia

I also now know that my memory of things briefly observed is very unreliable. My entire science degree was spent in laboratories sketching dead things and on fossil beaches sketching really, really dead things. It is so much harder to see life when it's living and moving and staring into your soul!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent analysis and deduction!
    I am also impressed with how much your paint-sketch looks like the real creature; I think your observational skill was well honed in those labs and beaches-