One of the things I most enjoy about wildlife photography are the surprises that regularly occur when you are out in the field. You go out with plans to photograph a particular animal or bird, and you end up with something completely different and more satisfying. January 26th, 2019, in a natural area park here in Calgary, was one of those days. I love wildlife photography, but this was one of those rare days that I really didn't feel like going out at all. I wasn't feeling 100% and it was overcast and cold, but I forced myself to go out anyway. Seems to be a common theme with me, that the days I have to push myself to go out is when I tend to get my best shots.
Standing on the banks of the Bow River, waiting patiently in the cold, I was looking for bald eagles. They usually nest every year across the river from where I was positioned and are regular residents in the area all year round. This time of the year, there are a lot of winter bird residents on the river as well. Tons of Canada Geese, common goldeneyes, and various duck species tend to winter over, so there is always a lot of activity in the area
As I was waiting for eagles, a lot of frantic splashing was going on in the water just below where I stood. At first, I thought it was a couple of goldeneyes fighting or chasing each other, which happens regularly this time of the year. To my surprise, there was a fish struggling wildly. I could see that some small animal had grabbed it, but it took a second to recognize what it was. I couldn't believe it, but a mink had caught a fish close to the bank of the river where I was standing. No time to make any camera adjustments, as the whole episode lasted only seconds, so I took several quick shots before the little critter disappeared with its prey. My heart was racing and I was praying with every click that the shots would come out. Given the lighting conditions and quickness of the whole event, I was quite pleased with the results. The pictures are below, as well as in the Smaller Critters gallery. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them. By the way, the mohawk reference in the title is because of the way the hair on the head of the mink is pushed up in the middle. Looks almost like a mohawk hair cut.
The fish was as big as the mink was.
Notice the mohawk on this little critter :)
It stopped and looked right at me with its prize.
Last shot I got before it disappeared with its prey.
This was one of those moments that a wildlife photographer never forgets and is what keeps guys like me going. I have had several experiences like this over the years, but have not documented them as they have happened. In the future, I will try to enter them in my blog, as they happen and are still fresh in my mind. Thanks for reading, and Happy Shooting!!