Monday, February 20, 2012
Magical Mink Moments
When sufficiently clean and dry, he walked straight to a large tree at the edge of the pond, and dug out a small dark, vole sized creature, as if he had known all along where to get an easy meal. A cache? Had he been hoping for something fresh and aquatic, before resorting to this? I watched as he enjoyed his meal. My view was partially obstructed, for he had settled among some thickets to feed in safety, but I was close enough to hear him chew.
Once satisfied, he hurried to and fro along the shore awhile, busily exploring, then paused in rapt attention over some woody debris, peering down between the fallen branches. He pursued for several minutes, and I could hear a sort of low, harsh hissing sound - the hapless victim, I think, in desperate effort to sound formidable. Finally, the mink captured the noble creature and carried it off triumphantly, out of sight, perhaps to cache it elsewhere.
The whole event lasted 20-30 minutes and most of it was only 20 feet
away from me. I had barely moved, and with the breeze rolling up the
bank into my face, I don't think the mink ever noticed me.
I thought about all those minky scats found on logs near water, and no longer wondered why it was that an animal would go out of its way to get up onto a log before relieving itself. (Do they REALLY "mark" prominent places with conscious intention?) Because I no longer think they do. It looks to me like if you're a mink, a high and dry log by the water is a fine place for sunning, grooming, and relaxing after a chilly dive, and you poop there because that's where you happen to be when it's time for number 2.
The photo shows the view from where I was standing. The rolling and
grooming took place on one of those logs. You'll have to imagine the
mink -- I did not want to scare him off by attempting to get a picture.