by Jerry Vovcsko
The upcoming weather forecasts do not exactly lead us to believe a cornucopia of piscatorial plenty will soon be forthcoming. Nossir, declining temperatures with snow and freezing rain mixed in over the next couple of weeks murmur to us that pulling a kitchen chair a little closer to the old woodstove would be a smart move for these old bones.
But just because the fishing's not too promising right now, there's still plenty going on here in the New England region. Take the morning Roger Mundell Jr. experienced last week. He went out to his garage in the Central Massachusetts town of Brookfield to fetch some tie-down straps for a friend and next thing he heard was a hiss before a bobcat pounced on him sinking its teeth into his face and its claws in his back.
The critter then ran out of the garage and bit Mundell's 15-year-old nephew on the arms and back. Mundell jumped on the bobcat and with help from his wife managed to pin the cat to the ground and shoot it dead. State Environmental Police took the bobcat to have it tested for rabies, which they think is likely given its unusually aggressive behavior.
Mundell, along with his nephew and his wife began treatment for rabies. Although his wife wasn't bitten, the animal's blood got on her. Local newspapers reported that state lab results on the dead animal were announced at a subsequent selectman's board meeting in Brookfield confirming that the animal did indeed have rabies. Folks who have undergone a series of rabies shots say the treatment is painful but the disease in far worse and the Mundells are expected to make full recoveries.
Meanwhile, the first official whale sighting of 2013 on Cape Cod Bay was confirmed by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) this past Saturday as a right whale mother and her calf was spotted off Plymouth. According to PCCS, a research organization that has been conducting aerial surveys for right whales since 1997, this is the earliest a right whale has been spotted in Cape Cod Bay.
Scientists believe most right whale calves are usually born in December and January in southern waters off Georgia and Florida. The mother and child pairs then head north to the Cape Cod region to feed in early April. The good news is that New England Aquarium researchers have confirmed the identity of the mother. Wart--as she is known--was last seen in May 2010. The Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team at PCCS had succeeded in freeing Wart from an entanglement.
As she had not been seen since 2010, researchers had been very worried about Wart but spotting her in the Bay is exciting news for the population. With only 500 North Atlantic right whales left, the survival the reproduction potential of mature females is particularly critical to conservation efforts said a PCCS official.
NFL fans know the Houston Texans came to town last Sunday…and four hours later headed out of town (and the playoffs), having lost to the Patriots 41-28 in a game that wasn't really that close. Unfortunately the win cost the Pats the services of All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski; the Big Guy re-broke his arm and is lost to the Pats for the rest of the season.
Next Sunday the Baltimore Ravens will be coming to Foxboro led by their aging-but-still-vocal linebacker Ray Lewis who's been conducting a loud Celebration-of-Me in preparation for retirement. The Patriots will undoubtedly do whatever they can to assist Mr. Lewis into an early retirement on their way to yet another Super Bowl appearance. Need we say it? Go Pats!