Saturday, August 11, 2012

Minky Business

A few weeks ago, I took my morning walk and stopped at the dam as I usually do to see if there were any interesting creatures to photograph.


crow watching
A crow family was hanging around - each perched in various spots. Some were on the fence which surrounds the dam area and others were in nearby tree branches. Still others were in flight.




proud mama duck
A mallard rested on a concrete block while she watched her ten ducklings swimming the the water at the base of the dam.




sandpiper3
A lovely sandpiper skittered about along the top of the slope in search of something to eat. There were also more ducks, gulls, sparrows and the occasional appearance of the kingfisher.

Suddenly, the gulls began screeching as only they can do. The adult crows were also kicking up an enormous fuss. Ducks at the top of the dam swam further into the lake and the sandpiper and kingfisher made themselves scarce.




attack
Gulls and crows began dive-bombing an area of the water. I could see a vague shadow moving underneath the surface. I wondered what could have caused such a commotion in the avian community.. and then it surfaced...




mink appearance
The mink is a fierce little creature. Most of the birds in the area were good flyers and not likely at risk but that wasn't the case yet for the ducklings below the dam.




mink hunting
Last year, the mink briefly considered going after a raccoon kit in distress. As soon as it noticed me at that time, it reconsidered the risk and left almost immediately. I figured the same thing would happen as soon as he saw me this time but I was wrong. Perhaps he was particularly hungry. I'd been watching this set of ten ducklings grow for a few weeks by now and I didn't want the mink to get one of "my" babies.




mink trouble
The mink glanced at me and didn't back down. I kicked the fence in front of me to remind him that I was still far bigger and that he might be risking too much by going after one of the ducklings who were still swimming innocently in the water below. I envisioned him going into the water and grabbing one from underneath. I kicked the fence again.

He saw the ducklings and he was not to be deterred.




in search of ducklings
He made his way down the slope while crows and gulls continued their screaming. Mama duck began herding her wee ones and the mink disappeared underwater nearby. I didn't want to watch.




takeoff
The crows had not taken their eyes off of him and I let them keep vigil for me.

I took my camera for a full circuit around the pond and returned to the spot about fifteen minutes later. All was calm. The mink was nowhere in sight.



ducklings
Glancing down, I saw the ducklings on one of the concrete posts. I took a quick count. You can count them yourself, if you like. I'm sure you already have. I don't know what happened with the mink but all ten ducklings were safe and sound.

It was a bit of drama that turned out well for our feathered friends. Not so much for the mink. Still I felt honoured to have witnessed one of the many events which is played out in nature every day.


More photos in a few days.

62 comments:

Birdie said...

Whew!

joeh said...

It's not easy being a duck! Maybe the mink caught a fish...do they eat fish?

cranky

joeh said...

Oh, terrific story well told through photos.

Rob-bear said...

Well, everyone survived.

A stone well bounced a few feet from the mink might have given it reason to change its mind about things.

Stephen Hayes said...

I love a story with a happy ending, but you had me worried there for a while.

Nadezda said...

I think the mink has the little ones and has to feed them, he needs some food.

Mom of A and a said...

whew! Thank goodness!

ADRIAN said...

She's done well to rear that many ducklings. round here they seem to manage two or three out of a clutch of eggs.

Dave said...

A real life drama Hilary. Thanks for sharing - Dave

CorvusCorax12 said...

super pictures

Brian Miller said...

well i am glad all is well that ends well...ha....you def got a little drama that day...glad the crows were on vigil...smiles.

Leah J. Utas said...

Great pics and excellent coverage of a drama in nature. Also, that first crow pic is very Hitchcockian.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

You had me worried for a minute. I did count those ducklings.Whew!! Nature does have its drama.

yaya said...

The circle of life is not always pretty..but you saved the day and also the cool pics!

Roan said...

Lucky ducks! That's a really nice shot of the crow.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Nice photo of the crow. We have a pair living around here and it's so hard to capture their shiny black beauty.
A mink! That is one thing I don't see here. Scary for the baby ducks.

Linda said...

You told this story so well, in both photos and words. I was on the edge of my seat. I'm glad it turned out well for the ducklings, but minks have to eat, too. Hopefully, the little guy found something to please his palate without horrifying those of us whose hearts are tender toward all living things.

Linda Wildenstein said...

Wow, this was a nail biter for sure. Whew! And I'm glad that you didn't have to view whatever else was on the menu for the mink. Great post and photos. Oma Linda

TexWisGirl said...

you know us so well - of course we counted as soon as that photo appeared. :) i did enjoy seeing the mink through your photos, though. :)

Tabor said...

Unfortunately I was rooting for the mink. They are rarely seen and very shy! Great photos.

June said...

I thought I saw a mink yesterday!
It was a squirrel. I was embarrassed at myself for being so mistaken.

I DID count the babies before I read on! Being a wild animal parent must be harrowing.

ellen abbott said...

well, I'm glad the little ducklings didn't get eaten but, poor mink, he has to eat too.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Holy drama! I did indeed do a head count on the last photo. The thing is, I sorta felt sorry for the mink because he needs to eat, too. But not the ducklings. Hope he found something else to soothe his hunger pangs; like maybe some rats if they eat those. Loved this story and how the avian community banded together.

messymimi said...

While i'm glad the ducklings were safe, i hope the mink found a meal elsewhere, as sad as that was for some other creature.

Rita said...

I'd also rather the Circle of Life progress while I'm not watching. But, if I was there, I would have been kicking the fence and making a ruckus, too! Happy to count ten ducklings. And, yes, I had already counted them before I read on. ;) Excellent pictures!!

ds said...

Counted those ducklings first thing, of course. Quite a story. So glad it ended well for the ducks. But...where's mama?
Every so often, crows rock!

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant series Hilary. We get them as well, they are a dangerous animals. Ours is imported from USA.

Hilary said...

I would have had a heart attack....for sure.

Wendy said...

it's funny how we get attached to those ducklings we've watched grow from babies.
The ones here on the lake are just about as big as the Mamma, so sometimes I have to look closely.

Ha! I can just see you kicking the fence. I would have too! And hard!

Nice photos and good story-telling, with a happy ending. Perhaps the mink was satisfied with a fish instead.

Reb said...

Well, I am glad to hear the ducklings are alive and well. I just hope the mink found him/herself a meal too.

Great photos as always Hilary.

Kerri said...

Yikes! The first thing I did was count those little cuties! So glad they made it!!

Red said...

Great story and photos. You had me worried for a while. They certainly do get ducklings by coming up underneath them. He probably caught a nice fat fish . We don't think fish are adorable so no worries?

SandyCarlson said...

This post is such a treat, Hilary! That mink looks like a mini Patton! Or a dachshund! And those baby ducks--beautiful. Thanks, Hillary!

ladyfi said...

Such lovely shots!

So sorry Wordpress is acting up. I've actually taken off all the restrictions regarding posting and allow anonymous posting even ... but sometimes it doesn't work anyway - no idea why!

Thanks for making an effort and leaving your comment! Much appreciated. Hopefully, the WP glitch will be sorted out soon.

Murr Brewster said...

Ack! And then would you have stood post there all day long until the ducks can take off? You probably would, wouldn't you?

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Sweet relief! I was quite worried for those ducks. Now to find something to settle my stomach -- it was rather tensed up when that mink showed up!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Oh be still my heart!!! Whew!
I have to say though...that mink was awesome! Don't see them too often.
Hugs
SueAnn

Dianne said...

I was holding my breath!!
I love crows, they're rock stars and very loud

the mink is beautiful but I don't want him eating the duck babies
I could think of a few people he could have

Mage said...

You bet I counted them. What a bit of drama. Thank you.

Lisa Gordon said...

These are wonderful photographs Hilary!
I especially love the second one here.
Hope you've had a great weekend!

Don said...

Good creature collection!

Daanish said...

Seeing is believing.
Thanks for sharing God's universe.

ZielonaMila said...

Beautiful photographs, inquisitive look at the nature. I am greeting

Pearl said...

There were Canadian geese flying overhead on my way to the bus this morning. I thought of you and your camera.

Geese migrating. In August. *shudders*

Pearl

p.s. I would smile for days if I saw a mink in the wild...

Mental P Mama said...

Wow! Why did I think mink were vegetarians??? So glad the ducklings were safe that day!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I'm very glad that little stinker didn't get any of the babies!

Shammickite said...

You were very honoured to see this wild creature and able to take pictures. Great photos.

Sharon Wagner said...

A mink! I haven't seen one in the wild before. Thanks for dropping by my new website. And for commenting on my blog. Yes, you are right. No comments for my new site. It is just going to sit there and look (hopefully) professional!

Suldog said...

You get such amazing detail in your shots. The first one, of the crow, is stunning. Shininess of the feathers (do they have an oily coating, like a duck, or is that water, or...?) is particularly beautiful.

Glad to hear the ducklings were OK. Feel a little sorry for the hungry mink, though. Here's hoping he caught a fish or a frog or something.

Daryl said...

next time, dont kick the fence, yell out that there's a furrier nearby and he's on the way over ... ;)

photowannabe said...

Whew, I was holding my breath.
I know it's survival of the fittest but I couldn't bear to watch either.
Yes, I did count them very first thing when I saw the ducklings...

Daniel LaFrance said...

You weave a wicked tale, I bet you photoshopped the finesse out of those images and inserted the villain where needed. Then again if that were true, you'd would have removed the dingy stuff and filtered the water.

Great series! I love happy endings.

Tammie Lee said...

I have never seen a mink, so beautiful. seems all life hunts something to continue living. So glad you did not have to witness a life being taken. thank you for sharing your adventure!

Gillian Olson said...

Yup, you are right I had already counted to make sure ten remained before I read your words. I didn't see a picture of the Mama duck though, was she OK?

Fragrant Liar said...

In the first pics, the birds look almost fake! I've never seen a mink before. What a great find!

Linda said...

They are so cute! Glad the little darlings are safe.

TSannie said...

Whew! I watched in horror while a little night heron swooped down and plucked a mallard baby. Stones thrown didn't help. :(

Michael Manning said...

Relief!

Also, in my case, I've never seen a Mink before stopping here. I always learn something new from you, Hilary! :)

lime said...

what fortuitous timing to catch all that drama!

Jo said...

I was so worried! We cared for a family of ducklings that got stranded after a storm--our Animal Control service wanted nothing to do with them--and after 5 months, only 3 of the original 10 reached maturity. The rest were picked off by a hawk, two raccoons, and several possums. It was heartbreaking.

Zuzana said...

A truly exciting encounter, glad that everyone was fine;))
xoxo

Clowncar said...

That series of pix with the kids splashing in the water with bennie is such a wonderful visual narrative. Nice work.