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