A few moments with Chuck

Posted March 30th, 2011 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

Whenever I see Chuck A. on my caller I.D., I know it’s something worthwhile. This gentleman is truly a joy to be around. His mind is so sharp, his ideas so profound, his drive so unstoppable, that I relish the moments we spend together. There are a scant few individuals that I know with similar traits. I cherish them all.

Sometimes the calls are physics-related (he owns a number of patents), sometimes work-related, and sometimes wildlife-related. This time it was the latter of the three.

He said he was in north Fargo and had seen two large dark critters along the edge of the Red River. Initially he had thought they were perhaps beavers or maybe mink. But once he watched them haul themselves onto an ice shelf with a fish and seen their long muscly tails, he knew they were otters.

I was engaged with appointments and so couldn’t join him immediately. Ninety minutes later I caught up with him near a bridge. Chuck had been watching, following, and photographing these animals for two hours.

I finally got a chance at a photo when the two emerged from the bridge’s shadow (see photo). Unfortunately, it was a dorsal view looking straight down which lacks any profile or facial features. Nonetheless it’s the best I got.

I, too, watched the animals for quite some time, with every car along Cass hwy 20 slowing to a near-stop. Probably to make sure we weren’t going to jump in the river or something.

We witnessed some intriguing behavior. The otters (or more likely just one), were killing a lot of fish and dragging them onto the ice with barely a nick out of them (see photo). Were they caching food? I doubt it. Were they merely having fun and acting instinctual? Again, I have doubts. I am not at all versed on otter behavior but I suspect the male was readily killing fish in an effort to show the female he was a capable mate, in a sort of courtship thing.

If anyone knows about this otter behavior, I’d love to hear about it.

kcorliss@forumcomm.com

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