A Strange Encounter

by Ralph Sabean
(Annapolis Royal)

This happened one beautiful late spring or early summer day. I was taking my daily sabbatical (walk-about) around one of the many walking trails throughout the area near my Annapolis valley home. This day I was alone though not usual for me because my wife of nearly 40 years is usually walking just ahead of me trying to get the most out of our daily walks. My legs are misshapen from vehicle accidents that happened many years ago and left much internal damage that cannot ever be totally repaired. This being the case she can walk much faster even though she too has internal injuries in her back where she had it broken many years ago as well.

As I was saying, I was alone and happened to see my old friend the Gander the male gender of a pair of friendly geese I most often see in my trek around the French Basin Trail. This particular pair will come in to shore looking for a handout and most times I bring a small bag of bird seed, corn & sunflower mixture that I normally feed small birds in my community near home. I dumped it very near the edge of the water and stepped back about six or eight feet to watch. In the very early part of spring before the pair of geese nest they would both be there but the goose was tending the eggs this time. I’m not sure if they take turns setting or the goose does it all while the gander protects her nesting site. I was watching and taking a few photos of the gander when in swam a Muskrat as big as you please as if to say “I think you are getting something that perhaps I may want.”

At first it just swam by as you can see but then he swam back again.

Then it turned around and swam back past the gander and then it came much closer like this. Then it landed on shore very close to the gander but not close enough. In a few seconds it would get closer and closer to the old gander to see if it perhaps might fly away and leave the morsels of corn and mixed food for it to eat.

And now this was the closest of all.

I don’t know what it was going to do but when it got that close the Gander turned its head toward the muskrat and glared at it and that was all it took for away the muskrat went. It just seemed to melt into the pond to never return.

I wish I would have been recording it as a video clip in a way but these are very good shots of the two at very close range paying little or no mind to me at all. Perhaps, it, meaning the muskrat just wanted that piece of wood it almost has in its mouth or maybe it just wanted to chat? Who knows because I didn’t see or get a picture of it taking the piece of wood and they weren’t saying much but this truly was an encounter of a rare and strange kind.

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