Down by the old fisher tracks — Ducks Unlimited Canada
Skip to main content
story
/
Landowners, Wildlife

Down by the old fisher tracks

The day an international mission landed at a wetland north of Kingston

January 13, 2021
How far would you go to see a fisher?
How far would you go to see a fisher? © Bill Kendall

Ontario landowner Bill Kendall’s photography has lit up the pages of Conservator magazine and a 2016 profile featured Bill and Linda Kendall at the McDougall Wetland Project.

Bill Kendall still heads out to the wetland every morning, as he has for many years.  It’s a brisk walk, ski or snowshoe along the trail constructed by DUC to access the wetland project at the back of his property. Kendall is deeply interested in wildlife and sometimes invites researchers or naturalists for study and observation at the wetland. Some guests are more surprising than others.

Here’s his most recent story, in his own words:


A casual invite to the winter wetland

I’d been seeing fisher tracks on the trail and, at about that time, I saw a Facebook post by an Ontario nature guide asking if anyone had been seeing fishers. I replied that I had seen lots of tracks crossing our trail to the DUC wetland project.

The guide said he had a client who had seen every member of the marten family except the fisher (now considered a different genus). He asked for some details on what I’d seen, then asked if I’d be open to him bringing his client to see if they could get a look. My wife, Linda, and I agreed that it would be fine.

Shortly after, the guide conveyed that his client was arranging his air ticket.

“Air ticket?”

“He’s coming from Wales,” replied the guide.

I then found out that the client was in his mid-80s. Yikes! I knew they’d have to take our access trail a kilometre or so into the woods, then sit in the snowy cold hoping to get a look. I got busy and borrowed a tent-style “hide” and a side-by-side four wheeler for them before they arrived.

Over a few days, they spent 10 hours in the “hide” amid the old fisher tracks. No luck. On the final day, as they began a retreat at the start of a snowstorm, they spotted a large male fisher! It bolted to a burrow under some rocks, staying to watch the two men for several minutes.

According to the guide, they got “knee-buckling, mind-bending views” of the fisher for several minutes. What a great feeling to have helped this senior global nature-lover put a check mark on his list!


 

The 49-acre (20-hectare) McDougall Wetland Project is at the back of the Kendall property in Frontenac County north of Lake Ontario, a priority region for waterfowl conservation.
The 49-acre (20-hectare) McDougall Wetland Project is at the back of the Kendall property in Frontenac County north of Lake Ontario, a priority region for waterfowl conservation. © Bill Kendall

The wetland continues to reveal itself to us in splendor and diversity of life.

Bill Kendall

The McDougall Wetland Project
The McDougall Wetland Project © DUC