Twice in the last week I have seen a mink (Mustela vison) frolicking close to the land bridge nearest the west-end of Reed Lake. Surprisingly, in all my years working to improve the native habitat within Reed Canyon- I have never seen this blackish brown-haired weasel generally with a white chin. Seen first last Friday this critter scampered across the land bridge from the lake towards the fish ladder. Having only seen it out the corner of my eye I figured it to be a muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) which I had seen last year in the same general area- But then again today I saw this it feeding on the grasses along the waters edge- before it swam under the old pump house on the north-side of the lake.
Even though this is the first recorded sighting of a mink in Reed Canyon- they are generally common in our type of ecosystem. Minks tend to be shoreline dwellers and their one basic habitat requirement is a suitable permanent water area. Minks also preference waters with good populations of fish, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates and with brushy or grassy edge. Minks tend to look for established or abandoned den sites similar to log jams and abandoned beaver dens.
Both of these sightings were in the early afternoon-
Not only are the banks of Reed Canyon idealistic habitat for the mink but it also offers an abundance of food, since the mink is strictly carnivorous. Because of its semi aquatic habits, it obtains about as much food on land as in water. Mink are opportunistic feeders with a diet that includes mice and rats, frogs, fish, rabbits, crayfish, muskrats, insects, birds, and eggs.