Monday, noon. Just upriver from Fort Cassin, in the middle of Otter Creek
something moving. Binoculars reveal a Black-backed Gull flailing around. I
canoe a little closer. It is flapping its wings but its head is down and
the bill is in the water. Is it snagged?
Closer, and I can hear it squawking. Bill still down in the water. Is it
struggling with a big fish?
The gull swims to the side of the river and scrambles up onto a log. Then
what does it haul up out of the water? Not a fish, but a MUSKRAT! It has
it by the nape of the neck and it succeeds in getting the head and front
half of the body out of the water, but the lifeless limp muskrat slips out
of its bill and sinks back down into the water. The gull stabs the water
trying to find it but fails. Squawking and complaining, it flies back to
the river. I didn't see the critter swim away so I canoed to the log.
Nothing visible. A veritable drowned rat I suppose
I know Black-backs are voracious hunters, but did this gull really intend to
catch a muskrat? Did it think it was one of the many carp in the river?
Surely it could tell the difference.
Such a dramatic last day of spring.
Happy Summer all.