A couple we meet on the towpath tell us they’ve just seen a mink amongst the tree roots on the opposite side of the canal. As we continue on our way we hear them calling behind us. A mink is swimming across towards some overhanging vegetation. It seems to vanish when it reaches the bank.
It’s a sleek predator but I wish that we could return to the days when I regularly saw water voles alongside the canal. As the introduced mink spread into valley, the water voles disappeared.
As we walk back later that afternoon we come across a young heron that stands at the edge of the canal looking intently at the water, its yellow eye unblinking. It’s so intent that it lets us get within a few yards of it before flying off and settling twenty yards further along the towpath.