Tuesday, 5 July 2016

American Mink (Vison d'Amérique) in Toronto

4 July 2016

     There is an impending postal strike in Canada and Miriam had a sale on her ETSY site for a woman in Toronto, who said the item was for her ninety-three year old mother's birthday, and she was concerned that it would not reach her by mail. Give the circumstances we decided that we would hand-deliver it and make use of our time in the city to check out the waterfront.
     The most entertaining part of our day was to observe, at close range, a family of American Mink Mustela vison at Colonel Samuel Smith Park.

Adult female

     We were both surprised and delighted to see these creatures for they are primarily nocturnal, with their main activity taking place around dawn and dusk. This was the middle of the day in bright sunshine.
     As far as we could tell there were three kits, although it is hard to be sure, as they darted in and out of rocky cover and took to the water, disappearing from view and emerging beyond our vision.
     The pelage of the young animals is considerably lighter in colour than the adults.

     Although playful as kits, adult mink are bold, ferocious and efficient predators. These youngsters were already displaying their hunting prowess in the water, where they are excellent swimmers.

     At this stage of their lives they are catching mainly freshwater crabs and fish, but as they age they will turn their attention to small mammals, voles, mice, and muskrats, even cottontail rabbits.

     These Double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus were in no danger from the mink.

     We came home via Oakville so that we could check the nests of the Red-necked Grebes Podiceps grisegena. The last time we had seen them was in March when nest-building had not yet begun.
     Both tires placed strategically for the use of the birds had active nests and the adults were busy incubating their eggs.

     As may be seen in the pictures below it is unfortunate that the birds do not hesitate to add plastic waste to their nests, such material seemingly being as acceptable as vegetation. It is even more unfortunate that we continue to pollute the world with this stuff.

     The deck at the side of our house was getting a little rickety (after all it was about twenty years old) so we replaced it last week, and we are well pleased with the results. 

     It was good to sit outside and have a glass of wine together before dinner. Gee, I might even do the same thing again tonight!


  1. Interesting creature is the Mink.
    Your 'private area' looks lovely...happy barbecues there.

  2. Great you were able to see this Mink David. And the plastic is horrible and is poluting more than we can imagen. Love the work you have done in the garden and sit on warm evenings having a meal outside. I thought I commented on your previous blog with the swallows and the ringing of them but something must have gone wrong. It is indeed lovely to see young children getting to know the wildlife in this way.
    Take care,
    regards Roos

  3. Hi. I do not understand people's littering. People have become more indifferent.

    Stunning photography and fine seating area.

  4. That was a very fortunate detour david in coming across the mink. I would never expect to see them in broad daylight either.

    Nice bit of decking there. Are you available for a little contract work?

    By the way, if you find American politicians to be funny you should be here right now. Rats in a sack but hopefully the big rats won't spoil the result of our Revolution. We have our country back - almost.

  5. Hello, the mink is so cool. I would love to see one in the wild. The Grebes are another favorite of mine, Great captures. Your new deck looks wonderful. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

  6. Beautiful pictures of the Mink and the Grebes, David. Your new deck looks fine, a broom ready to expel intruders. There's also a beautiful milk jug resembling a blue bird with a black eye. Gr Jan W

  7. An evening glass of wine, especially al fresco, is always welcome -- even for those of us not lucky enough to see such great wildlife earlier in the day!! The mink is a beautiful animal -- and a sleek swimmer. Really enjoyed the series. We saw red-necked grebes for the first (and only) time in Alaska. Thank you so much for helping with the Western Kingbird ID. Your help is also always welcome!!

  8. What excellent photos of the mink. Hope you have many more warm evenings to enjoy sipping wine on the new decking.

  9. Hi David.

    What a beautiful deer.
    How nice that you saw and could take the pictures.
    The Cormorants and Grebes are also very nice.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  10. Hello David,
    What a beautiful pictures, especially pictures 2,3 and 4, which are great.
    The garden again looks fantastic.
    Best regards, Irma

  11. Breeding Red Necked Grebes! I only ever see them in winter offshore............

  12. Hi David, great images of the mink, we only ever see the odd mink over here and they are escapees but as you say still very vicious. Shame about the litter on the Grebes nest, people make you wonder at times . Regards John

  13. We are dead against the American Mink, they cause no end trouble. They have been got set free on our rivers, and they kill young birds. Anyway, the rest are beautiful, especially the Grebe, fabulous.

    1. Hi Bob: I understand your aversion to the mink in your waterways but you should reserve much of your disdain for the idiot humans who farmed the animal for fur (greed) and then released it into your streams and rivers.

    2. Idiot humans indeed but it were not the ones that farmed them. Minks have been deliberately released by animal rights activists... That's the group to blame for it. Since their fur is so valuable, no farmer in his right mind would let them loose!
      This also has happened in The Netherlands with the smaller variety of European minks. Such activists have little or no knowledge about their natural habitat and what the consequences of such a coward act are.

    3. I don't know enough about this whole issue to really cast an opinion. I am opposed to alien species being released into the wild, but judging from some of the photographs I have located many of the captive animals were kept in truly appalling conditions. This no doubt fuels the activities of animal rights activists.

  14. Superb Mink images David,would love to photograph them in the wild.
    Also well done capturing the Red Necked Grebes,brilliant shots.

  15. Beautiful little critters. I am glad mink as a wearable fur has gone out of fashion. Nice deck!

  16. Gran reportaje, las fotos me han gustado mucho. Un fuerte abrazo desde España.

  17. Hi David,
    your photos of the mink are so cute and wonderful ! Great !
    Best regards, Synnöve

  18. Splendor photos David, especially the first series of Mink.
    Nice weekend,greetings Tinie.

  19. Do a kindly deed, and get rewarded with great wildlife sightings and photography? Now that's Karma, David !!!

    Reference Bob's comment about Mink in UK - you're right that it's no fault of the Mink. However, whilst we might be totally opposed to Mink farming to satisfy human vanity, it's not the farmers who caused the ecological disaster that feral Mink present here, but the Animal Rights movement that went through a period of raiding Mink farms and releasing the animals into the wild!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard: I was unaware of the Animal Rights Movement involvement. I got my information from a BBC web site which only speaks of escapes from fur farms and deliberate releases when the businesses became unprofitable.

  20. Dearest David,
    Glad you both could hand deliver Miriam's very special sales order to that precious elderly lady.
    And you both made the very best out of that trip; would have loved to be with you.
    It seems that those American mink in their natural habitat always have their fur wet, which of course is a different look.
    Love the lighter pelts of those youngsters.
    Indeed, my added comment here above is a sad but true fact. I had not even scrolled down to see the one above about the UK, just like in The Netherlands.
    For your info, just read about this brutal act of terrorizing the fur industry:
    Very sad!
    I too love to observe animals and birds in their natural habitat but for those that make a living by raising them, we also ought to have respect.
    Hugs and happy weekend to the both of you!

  21. Hello David!
    What a fantastic sight indeed to see this mink family enjoying life in the middle of day.
    I believe many nocturnals animals became so because of hunters.
    A lovely post :)
    huge hugs to share with Miriam and enjoy your weekend with lots of sunshine!

  22. Awww, what stunning photos, how sweet to have seen them! Thank you for the lovely comments on my blog too. - Tasha

  23. Beautiful pictures of the mink. I'm glad he lives with you in freedom. In the Netherlands Unfortunately breeding mink for their fur :-(
    Great to see how the cormorant has made a Enst in an old tire hahahaha ... really very resourceful.
    The renovations to your house looks quite cozy. I would also like to drink a good glass of wine;-)
    Greetings, Helma

  24. Very good pictures.. Im madrid there are a lot of american mik.. ( Visón americano) Regards..

  25. Beautiful photos about American Mink. Sad to see all that plastic waste in bird's nest...