Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ripples in the murk.

I was at Garden City Park, watching the ducks in the muddy brown water. Along with the many mallards and numerous Green-winged Teal, there were a few Hooded Mergansers (females only).

This one has caught a fish, either stickleback or young of a Brown Bullhead.

A single female Common Merganser was nervously swimming back and forth. It's the first of this species I've seen in this mid-town park.

She creates quite a motorboat wake when she gets up a head of steam.

Then came the submariner. A muskrat that has largely lost his fear of humans. He cruised by, smiling. Seriously--if you enlarge the image you can see his orange incisors. Muskrats can close their lips behind their front teeth, handy for gnawing on things under water.

And away he goes, creating a wake less symmetrical and elegant than that of the merganser. I unintentionally chopped off his tail in the framing of this picture, but it turns out very appropriately. As he swam away, I saw that his tail was truncated, with a raw pink tip. Somebody got him--the price of cockiness.


KaHolly said...

Guess tails come in handy sometimes!

PSYL said...

What a shame. The Muskrat's tail is beautiful and useful (just like a Beaver's) for swimming.

I wonder what/who could have done it.

cedrorum said...

The muskrat reminds me of the nutria we used to see in Oregon. They share the same color teeth.

Hugh said...

We don't have nutrias here -- yet.