Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Yesterday I decided to check out the lagoon for ducks and there had been a few there; but they flew before I could even get my binoculars in my hands. I think they had noted my approach beforehand for I had stopped and started my car a couple of times to take a few pictures of a doe and its spotted fawn in the adjacent meadow. A short time later, while scanning the river for Great Blue Heron and Osprey, I noticed some Eagle movement downriver. Thinking about how fortunate I was to have seen so much nature activity within such a short time period; I then noticed movement in the water almost directly below me.

Muskrat; two of them, were swimming very close to the edge of the small pool of water alongside the main river. The water area in the center foreground of the small picture to the right shows their location.

I'm surprised I hadn't returned to this location earlier as I had seen one Muskrat there in June of this year(2006) and had taken pictures at the time. What had alerted me to its presence then was that I had seen noticable movement in the grasses and could see that the movement was proceeding to the small water area. I had seen a Muskrat emerge carry vegetation in its mouth and watched it swim to the other side of the small pool.

I have seen these fairly large rodents along the river other years. The small Muskrat photo to the right was taken in September, 2001. That year I had watched them from a bridge above the river all summer long. This photo really illustrates its rodent appearance well. Below is another picture of the two Muskrats I had seen yesterday.

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