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Big Dipper

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Last August on a hot, sunny mid-afternoon I decided to take a leisurely pedal the length of the Canal, basically killing time waiting for a couple of fishing buddies to arrive for a nighty of angling. I was just beyond the Sagamore, heading towards the bend before the Herring Run parking lot when I noticed a couple of "yahoo" fishermen pelting rocks at a strange looking bird about 75 yards from the water's edge, floating on the surface of the canal. I couldn't quite make out what type of bird it was. It had a wing span of what appeared to be about four or five feet and brownish/white coloring. It sort of looked like a seagull, but I've never seen a seagull acting so strangely before. It was beak-down with its head submerged in the water, and its wings totally extended. It was flapping its wings erratically, and appeared to be struggling somehow.

 

I deduced that this seagull must have been trying to snag the partially submerged bait of these two "fools," who were heaving rocks at it to scare it off. I stopped pedaling and stood behind them over my bike and was about to tell them to knock-it-off, but I still wasn't clear exactly what I was seeing. So, finally, I asked, "What are you doing?" They responded, "We're trying to get that thing off the seagull. He's grabbed a hold of its beak, and won't let go." Huh....?

 

A moment later the seagull started to make it's way closer to shore, and these guys continued to try and throw rocks at it, or so I thought, but could only get close and never quite hit the bird. I'm thinking, "These guys have probably been drinking all day. Maybe it's not worth saying anything." And then I saw it!

 

One of those legendary canal mink-weasels. The critter had latched on to the gull's beak like a vice-grip and wasn't letting go. The pair moved closer to the rocks for a while, and then the weasel-mink started dragging the bird back to the middle of the canal again. It appeared he was trying to drown the gull. Finally, when the two made another run close to shore, one of the thrown rocks splashed down close enough to m-easel, that he let go his grip, swam to shore, and strutted right by us on the rocks like he owned the place.

 

I never imagined how tough those little guys are. I've had them scurry right over my boots on numerous occasions without giving it a second thought. I know one thing: I won't be putting my finger anywhere near their mouths.....

 

Does anyone have any similar stories about these mink/weasels/legendary canal vermin?

 

(BTW, this story is 100% true. If it wasn't, I would have posted it yesterday. ;) )

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Ha. Halfway through the read I scrolled up to see if this had been posted yesterday.

Great story. Not surprising. Those little effers are nasty even though they are kinda cute. They certainly have some big balls! Nothing seems to spook them.

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Haven't come across these guys yet, are they along the whole canal or just a small specific area?

 

Whole canal, but most of my sightings have been E of Sag Br. I usually hear them before I see them. Easy to miss.

 

-bd

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Thanks BD, I'll keep a look out for sure, I tend to stay more on the East end of things as that is the area I'm more familiar with anyway. 



 



Too bad they couldn't eat seals....


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Thanks BD, I'll keep a look out for sure, I tend to stay more on the East end of things as that is the area I'm more familiar with anyway. 

 

Too bad they couldn't eat seals....

 

But I bet they'd try! Now that would be a photo opp... :shock:

 

-bd

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Couple years ago I was fishing and one walked right up to me, put it's front paws right on the end of my boot, looked up at me for about 10 seconds then just kept going.

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