Fred Ungaretta was walking his dog in Sleepy Hollow Park in north suburban Glenview around lunch today when he ``saw an unnatural ripple coming off the bank in the brook (North Branch Chicago River).''
Now, I've heard the North Branch called many things, but that's a first for ``brook.''
There's more to the mystery.
``I figured it would be from the Mallards that nest and mate around here, but holy #@%*%$!.''
And it was something else.
``It was either a mink or an ermine, as it's pelt was too plush and beautiful to be a weasel ( I think) and it definitely wasn't a Muskrat ( The tail was long and full, very lustrous, he had a roundish head and rounded ears ). Beautiful. I hadn't seen one since my days in New Jersey when one showed me how to fish for trout in the Ken Lockwood Gorge.
``That's another story for another time. But imagine that! I couldn't believe my eyes and get home fast enough to tell you.All the best.''
I love stuff like that, but part of me hoped it was an otter, which are making appearances along the Chicago canal system.
But Fred assured me it was a mink, not an otter.
``I've actually fished across sttream from a female and her Kits ( Otter ) back in Northern NJ.
``No, this was a mink, beautiful fur, beautiful, full, lustrous tail, about 4 pounds ( sound right? ), very sleek, and very, very mink like when it left the water. In fact, when it climbed out, it didn't even look wet. Furtive, slinky, smoothest four legged creature on land you'll ever see, as it moved across the bank very warily, head bobbing, nostrils sniffing, eyes very alert. AWESOME to see this out here! Just a great gift out here in the middle of suburbia.''
Awesome pretty much nails it. All the same, I still want to see my first wild otter on the Chicago canal system.