I mid-identified the small furry mammal in Wednesday’s post, and I am super-embarrassed about that. In the back of my head, I had two names – ermine, and Neovision vision [sic]. I Googled Neovision vision which corrected it to Neovison vison, and when that turned up an American mink, I figured it was solved.

But it was not. I should have pursued the other name as well. An ermine is better known as a stoat, and has the binomial name Mustela erminea. In winter their coats turn white except for the tip of the tail, which remains black.

We saw one of these at the church a couple of years ago so I took several photos and sent one to Fish & Game for an id. And they said it was a stoat.

I organize my photos using a program called digikam (which is an open source package available for Linux, which is my preferred OS). It allows me to tag my photos, and I usually tag by binomial name. I already had a tag for Neovison vison, but there were no photos listed. This is not unusual, because sometimes I archive my photos to DVD to free up hard drive space. This is necessary, because I have taken 30,000 photos in the past three years. When I archive them away, the tags stay in digikam, but the photos disappear. If I bring them back onto my laptop, they show up still tagged.

I suspect N. vison was probably a mistaken tag from when I found the M. erminea, but when I saw the tag, I used that as confirmation.

And that was incorrect! I also have a tag for M. erminea, and here’s who I found under that:

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Sorry for the mistake! I will be more careful from now on!