Saturday, September 18, 2010

Get Out of My Pond

Yesterday was only a so-so weather day, so it was pretty deserted at Battle Creek Dog Park. After four times around the off-leash area, my Susan and I headed out on leash to walk the trails. One of our favorites is the asphalt trail that loops around for about a mile and a half through gentle hills. You meander through woods, meadows of wild flowers, and marshlands.

As we approached one marshy area, we heard splashing and quack quack quack behind the cattails. Not surprising, as there are always wood ducks and mallards paddling around in the open water. As we rounded the bend, we spied the ducks who were clearly irritated and swimming with purpose.

We saw a splash and realized there was something furry right on their tails. It was swimming hard, lunging at the ducks. The ducks out-paced it without too much effort. But it kept leaping out of the water to gain on them. The result was a tidy little flock of ducks paddling around in circles. Quack quack quack. It looked like a dog and sheep at a herding demonstration.

I wondered if this furry, little herder was a new member of the Border Patrol - perhaps the Border Patrol had branched out from border collies to chase pesky waterfowl. But this fella wasn't wearing an orange life vest.  And the ducks really weren't all that impressed - it was just a big rodent after all...

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

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