Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016 - Mink

The weather was so nice this week I had to get out on the lake for one more paddle, most likely my last voyage of the year.  And there were a lot of others out enjoying a warm, serene day on Lake Wicwas, starting with a pair of Hooded Mergansers floating along beside the now-brown marsh grass.
A pair of hooded mergansers on their way south

There were lots of other ducks on and above the lake, including this male mallard that flew overhead.
A mallard that evaded the hunters

I didn't see any loons, and having not heard them for the past two weeks, I'm assuming they have left for their winter fishing grounds on the Atlantic coast.  Of course, the Canada Geese are still here.
Just two of many geese still on the lake

They are the first water fowl to arrive and the last to leave;  I counted over 20 still on the lake.

But the highlight of the day began when I noticed a little splashing near the shoreline and stopped to watch.  Soon enough a little wet creature popped up out of the lake onto a rocky ledge.
Who is this emerging from the lake?

After a quick glance my way

he (she?) gave itself a good shake to dry off,

and a beautiful mink appeared.

Another look my way, and he decided to jump back in the lake.

As I paddled along toward home I kept hearing rustling in the dry leaves up on shore, and knew my friend was taking an upland route to search for chipmunks or other tasty morsels to surprise.  All along the cove he went, back and forth, down in the water, swimming near the shore looking for aquatic life,
Searching for frogs, crayfish or snakes under the bank

then up onto land again looking for mammals.
He knew I was watching
Who's watching whom?

but didn't appear too alarmed and continued along on his way.  Mink are quick animals, rarely stopping for more than a moment.  I got my best look at him when he ran across an open spot at someone's beach.

This experience with one of nature's more elusive animals will surely be one of my most memorable wildlife moments.  It never ceases to amaze me what diversity of life is sustained by the wonderfully preserved riparian habitat surrounding the lakes in central New Hampshire.  The generosity of so many people who have helped to preserve our natural treasures can never be thanked enough.
One more beautiful spot soon to be preserved forever

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