Having mentioned Mink in my last posting I searched here for my previous encounters and found that the best story was only on Flickr but this website is where it should be; so here goes.

Mink were first in the UK in the late 1920s, in Mink farms, where they were bred for their fur. Unfortunately some escaped, some were released, and they were being reported in the wild in the late 1950s. They had an established population even prior to the releases by animal rights activists and the the decline in the fur trade when, again, many were released. They are excellent predators and are one of the contributors to the decline of the Water Vole.

There is nothing gory in this story but if you like your wildlife all fluffy and friendly then you might not want to read on.

Back in 2011 on this very same date, 29 May, I was down by the river at Denso Marston Nature Reserve. Just near the down river entrance was a Moorhen and a couple of chicks.Pandemonium

I was just about to take a photo of them when all hell broke loose.

Mink and Moorhen chick No 1

A Mink had caught one of the chicks. It took it to the river bank and climbed up into the bushes.

Mink fish hunting

It then surprised me by coming back out again and started hunting out the other chick.

Mink sniffing out some prey

Sniffing around, poking its nose between the rocks.

Moorhen parent rather defensless

It soon caught the other one and the Moorhen adult watched defenceless as it was taken up onto the river bank.

Mink and Moorhen chick

It then carried it along the rocks at the side, heading up river.

Mink and Moorhen chick

Up over rocks

Mink and Moorhen chick

Leaping over the water between rocks

Mink and Moorhen chick

Running along the muddy river bank

Mink and Moorhen chick

Pausing occasionally to check that I wasn’t a threat on the other side of the river

Mink and Moorhen chick

before carrying on…

Mink and Moorhen chick

and on ….

Mink and Moorhen chick

until it got to this point where it climbed up a couple of rocks and disappeared into a tangled mass of tree roots.

Back to get the 1st kill

Almost immediately it came back out again and set off down river.

Mink and Moorhen chick

and very soon it was back with the first chick that it had hidden.

Mink and Moorhen chick

That behaviour shows quite a bit of cunning. If it had brought the 1st one up river, to what I assume were its young, then by the time it got back down the adult and chick would have moved on to safety.

I have a few more photos of Mink and this link will show the thumbnails of them.

Mink, River Aire, Baildon

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