by Carl Strang
Last week at Mayslake Forest Preserve I was happy to find the first mink tracks of the season.
Last winter I saw signs of that species only once or twice, a big letdown because two winters ago there were indications that two individuals were hunting the preserve regularly. I first saw the string of tracks pointed north as the animal ran along the east edge of May’s Lake.
As I was on my lunch break walk I couldn’t take the time to follow the mink’s entire route. Later I intercepted it again where it was following the little stream (May’s Lake’s outlet) near the bridge.
Given the animal’s trajectory, I decided to see if it checked out the parking lot marsh. Sure enough, it had weaseled its way through the cattails.
I estimated that these tracks were made the third night previous to my finding them, given the weather conditions during that time period and the deterioration of the footprints. There was nothing fresher, and I suspect that this mink made a single south to north passage through the preserve and exited. Time will tell if this animal is a regular visitor.