On September 27 (Saturday), I was out again biking along the dyke in Terra Nova. When I passed the golf course, I heard unusual duck quacks. Looking down at the ditch, I saw these birds swimming and quacking quite seriously, as if they were chasing something.
So I looked ahead of this angry group and that's when I saw it. A dark-bodied mammal of some sort, and at first I thought it was a squirrel. But then I don't think squirrel are such able swimmers.
Never seen any other wild mammals in Richmond besides squirrels, rabbits, and rats, I was quite excited and incompetent in identifying this mysterious creature, so I quickly took these pictures.
With the ducks still behind it, the creature quickly went onto land and poked its head about. And then it disappeared into bushes. I saw it again on my return trip (or heard it first as it jumped into the water causing the ducks to start quacking again), but I was too late again in taking pictures.
When I got back home and checked with my field guide and the internet, I am pretty sure I just observed an American Mink (Mustela vison) with the brown body. I wished I saw the whiteness under its chin and throat to solidly confirm what I saw, but these pictures were the best evidence that I had.
This animal is common along shoreline of waterways and lakes, but is rarely seen. It is a predator for aquatic birds, mammals, fish, and frogs, so I guess that's why the Mallards were ganging up to scare away this potential predator.
According to The Biodiversity of Richmond, a mink was sighted in Richmond Nature Park in 2005, but it was unconfirmed. Well, at least, I have photo evidence this time, poor ones at that. Hooray!