On a whim I arrived at the local waterfront just before dusk in search of Canvasbacks that had been reported the day before. I was dismayed to see a thin layer of ice forming up once again around the pier limiting the waterfowl population, so was prepared to head home empty-handed for my target species.
The harbour was totally deserted as it was quickly getting dark ahead of our next round of snow grrrrrr , with the exception of this fine specimen of a feisty Mink feasting on a fish!
The only sound heard was the occasional "crispy crackle" of the fresh ice, when I suddenly realized it was the weight of the Mink and its meal causing the ice crackles!
It was never a matter of if , it was a matter of when the Mink would haul the fish up off the ice and carry it away to secretly stash:
..but the size of its meal was challenging:
The Mink rested for a moment, perhaps pondering its caching strategy as it took another lick of its meal:
...but then off it went again, this time with a dragging versus carrying strategy:
...which was still not all that successful, as the Mink bounced up off the ice at one point with the fish firmly gripped in its mouth. I'm killing myself laughing at this point, as admittedly it was pretty amusing to watch:
In the fading light the Mink managed to grasp and carry the fish again, almost tripping on it at times as the crispy ice was creaking under their weight:
With gravity working against it, the Mink even tried to unsuccessfully drag it up on the snow. It suddenly disappeared, though, silently slipping away into a small patch of open water for not more than ten seconds, and then climbed back out, having stashed the fish right under the ice!
It cautiously walked around on the thin ice a bit longer:
....then gave itself a good shake to remove the icy water off its beautiful coat before disappearing into the darkness:
Another wonderful ten minutes of yet another unexpected wildlife encounter!