Sunday, 7 January 2018

Strange goings on at the marina

Yesterday afternoon (6th Jan 2018) I was doing my usual thing ... taking photos through the window of the wild life in the marina garden ... when something made me look down at the pontoon to which Still Rockin' is moored ...

It is of course a Mink, an American Mink to be exact!  
Just occasionally we've had a glimpse of one running along a towpath on the canals but never this close before!

And the strange thing? ...
Last night I'd gone to bed, George was still up and we heard a loud 'thump' on the side of the boat which sounded like something fairly big and solid, but not hard.  Not unusual in itself as there are often noises against the hull that we don't really understand - a large fish perhaps, but this was different, and it was on the side of the boat above the water line.  We both ignored it.  About 20 minutes later it happened again three times in succession!   George went onto the deck with a torch but couldn't see anything along the water line.  We left it at that.

This morning we talked about what it could have been and wondered if it could have been the mink taking a struggling moorhen and decided that that was probably it. Mystery over.
We started to get ready to walk into Henley when I noticed that there was this swan and a couple of mallards under the tree and at the same time there was another bang against the boat in exactly the same place.  George went out and saw that it was a juvenile swan attempting, unsuccessfully, to get out of the river onto the pontoon to join it's parent on the grass.  The problem is that Still Rockin' is tied on very loose ropes as the river is currently high and if the level drops quickly we don't want to get either 'hung-up' or sitting at an angle on the bottom.  The boat therefore drifts back and forth against and away from the pontoon and the swan was getting stuck between the boat and the pontoon, banging into the hull in his  struggle to get free. George pushed us out a bit to allow him to swim round but there was nothing else we could do. Hopefully he'll learn to follow his parents and get out in the stream where it's shallow!

The swan family was leaving the stream as we set off on our walk...
... the River Thames today ... the bitterly cold wind is blowing waves/white horses upstream making the current (which obviously flows downstream) under the surface dangerous for navigation.  Still Rockin' if out there would certainly be rock 'n' rollin'!
 The sun was blinding as we walked towards it
 ... into Henley on Thames where we did our bits of shopping and caught the bus home again...
... where this little fella was sitting in the bushes watching us - cute eh?


  1. This post is amazing Carol!! You have such a good eye for photographic composition and excellent timing as well. Lovely!!
    Jaq xx

  2. Thanks Jaq, you're too kind! x

  3. Make sure that mink doesn't get on the boat. They make a terrible mess. A boat at Torksey was written off by the insurers due to mink damage!

  4. Hi Carol,
    Aren't mink counted as a noxious pest in the UK? Very attractive but very destructive to UK wildlife.

    Maybe a humane trap would be the thing to get from the RSPCA and then hand the mink over to them to be 're-homed on a farm' or 'terminated with extreme prejudice'. Alternatively, I am sure the Alaskan mutual friend knows how to skin and cure furry animal hides ... Then you could make a muff for yourself - if you had the fur on the inside and material on the outside, you would be safe from the anti-fur brigade, and your hands would be warm!

    When we were coming through one of the cuttings on the Shroppie this last season, a woman was taking photos and recording the position she was in so she could report the sighting of a mink.

    Stay warm, you lot - while over here I am trying to keep cool!

    Big hugs, M&D xxoo

  5. Thanks for the warning Rachael.

  6. Thanks for the comments Marilyn. I've done quite a lot of research on the net about reporting mink sightings but can't find anything at all. If anyone reading this in the UK and know who I would report it to, please get in touch.

  7. Large spade,big swing from open shoulders!

  8. Or maybe gloves? I love mink, long may they be utilised....

  9. You'll have to come and catch it first Lisa!

  10. Beautiful photos! What a lovely creature! I'm sorry they make a mess, but I hope no one would kill a lovely animal like that, especially not for its fur :(


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