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By MDB8
#88578
Although I have photos of what is recounted below, my Flickr account is inactive because I am a cheapskate. Eventually I'll find some other service (hopefully not a nosy one) where I can post images.

Recently I visited Piper Spit in Burnaby. I was carrying my Sony RX10 and recently had my ears cleaned out. As I was walking down the gravel path to the boardwalk I heard a Swamp Sparrow in the reeds. I stopped and tried to find the bird, but it was just a sound.

I slowly continued towards the boardwalk in case I heard the Sparrow again. As I arrived at the beginning of the boardwalk, I noticed all the Ducks start to swim away from the spit. Unusual, I thought, as the Ducks normally swim towards people, hoping for sustenance.

About 20 meters along the boardwalk, I saw a swimming Mink with a small Duck in its mouth. Likely a GW Teal. The Mink saw me too and swam to the floating part of the boardwalk and "ducked" under it. I crouched down and could see it in the dark with the Duck beside it on the mud. (The water level is very low.) I thought I might get a better view from the other side and walked past the floating section and crouched down again. The Mink didn't like this move on my part and picked up the Duck and moved so that the structure hid it from my view. So I returned to the other side. Again, the Mink moved, carrying the Duck. Ever patient, I moved again, but this time the Mink scampered out from under the floating boardwalk and ran under the main raised walkway and disappeared. But it left the Duck behind.

I waited a couple of minutes and nothing happened so I turned my attention elsewhere. Then I thought that surely the Mink would not abandon the Duck so easily. Meanwhile the other Ducks, except for two GW Teal were still some distance from the boardwalk. The two GW Teal were swimming close to where the dead Duck was, as if hoping it would revive.

I crouched down again and took a look. Sure enough the Mink had returned and had the Duck in its mouth again. This time, however, it took the Duck and ran/swam under the main walkway to the other side where a few Mallards were swimming. However, most of this area was mud as the water level was so low. As the Mink came into view of the Mallards while carrying the deceased GW Teal, it ran onto the mud, heading towards the reeds.

What surprised me was that about 10 Mallards took off running after the Mink, only stopping at the edge of the reeds. Unexpected behaviour. It was clear that swimming Ducks were wary of being pulled under by the Mink and gave it a wide berth. However, on land the Mallards became bold and chased the Mink. (Photos to follow -- someday.)

(Also frequently observed is a Beaver which often sits in easy view of the path to the boardwalk. And the Mandarin Duck has found a "close personal friend", a female Wood Duck. Apparently such hybrids are viable, but only for one generation.)
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By northvanrob
#88579
Lucky you saw the ink with prey!
Usually they see you and they are gone!

I saw the Beaver at Piper Spit recently, chewing on dry reeds, not a care about people seeing it.
Saw it in two location, both highly visible from the boardwalk!

I have seen recent photos of the Mandarin Duck and it's new girlfriend!

Quite the couple!

That Mandarin Duck is jealous too, chasing Wood Duck males away!

I don't get to Piper Spit very often, but was lucky to visit twice recently!

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