I few evenings ago I remembered that I’d left my iPhone on the runabout, so I headed down to the waterfront before dinner to grab it.
As I stepped out onto the dock, I noticed an energetic mink playing around on the rocks. I froze.
Would he vanish if he saw me?
He continued to explore the rock pile undisturbed. If only I had my phone I could take a photo or shoot a video. But it was in the boat.
For several minutes I stood motionless, and then I started taking slow steps toward the boat whenever he turned away. Eventually I realized that he wasn’t concerned with me at all. I unsnapped the boat cover and fumbled around in the failing light for my camera. The mink continued to play.
This is the video sequence I shot with most of the repetitive stuff edited out. Sorry it’s still a bit long, but couldn’t bring myself to erase his antics after he’d tolerated mine…
From what I can ascertain, this was an American mink (Neovison vison), a semiaquatic carnivore which is inclined to dine on fish, frogs and crustaceans like crayfish. And, yes, it is the source of the fabled fur more valuable globally even than sable and silver fox.
I’d first titled this post “Summer Evening Mink” because it conjured up all sorts of dramatic (if slightly misleading) images. It sounded like a scene from a Merchant Ivory film. Too much. I knew it would ruffle my bride’s animal-centric feathers.
“Are you suggesting that someone should turn that beautiful wild creature into a collar?”
“No, dear. Just liked the sound and imagery…”
“The imagery? Of slaughtering defenseless animals?”
Rosslyn’s American Mink
I know how this conversation goes. And besides, “Rosslyn’s American Mink” — although a bit presumptuous since this sleek fellow no more belongs to Rosslyn than Lake Champlain or that handsome moon does — gets right to the point of the matter. My bride likes that.
And my bride does not like mink coats. Not American mink or sable or silver fox or any other fur. She’s a big advocate for the critters. No eating or wearing critters for her. For me? I’m a carnivore, a bit like the American mink, I suppose, though my tastes are perhaps a bit more diverse. Oh, and I wear fur. Not American mink fur, but my own fuzzy coat. And fortunately there’s very little demand globally for my fur.
Leanne Hobbs Bula contacted me via Facebook to share a pair of mink photos that she took near Isle la Motte, Vermont.
“I also have an American mink at my home. She has 6 babies too! Scared the heck out of me the first time I saw her. She doesn’t like my dog… They are a bit far away because I ran away screaming bloody murder… we haven’t seen the babies in a few weeks, only the mom. We now have a pair of bald eagles and an eaglet? … We suspect the bald eagles may have snacked on the baby mink. Nature can be cruel but it certainly makes me less nervous when I am tanning myself lakeside!” ~ Leanne Hobbs Bula
Great photos, Leanne! Thanks for passing them along. I wonder if Rosslyn’s American mink has babies hiding away somewhere. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, but judging from all of the healthy ducklings growing into ducks along our waterfront, I suspect that there may only be the one lonely American mink I spied.
- Rosslyn Gardens: Mid-July Veggies (rosslynredux.com)
- Mary Wade’s Rosslyn (rosslynredux.com)
- 2012 Flood Retrospective (rosslynredux.com)
- Rosslyn Unplugged (rosslynredux.com)
- Sally Lesh & Hyde Gate (rosslynredux.com)