Mike Sturk, a friend and professional photographer, spends hours each week roaming the backroads of Southern Alberta, "shooting" from his vehicle, a blind, or anything else that provides cover and a good vantage point.
His eyes are like a lighthouse beacon, and he rarely misses anything worth photographing - from the snowy owl perched atop a telephone pole to the song sparrow eating minnows at the outfall of a local lake. Between stops last week Mike happened upon a lone muskrat wandering the highway shoulder.
"It kept crisscrossing the highway and trucks were passing over it, just missing. I chased it into a ditch but sure enough it came back out and crossed the busy highway again. This time I chased it into the snowy ditch, caught it by the tail, and put it in the back of the truck."
Mike figures the muskrat was in search of open water after its previous pond froze over. So he drove around for a bit, assuming the role of muskrat realtor, until a new home beckoned. He found it amidst bullrushes and reeds, water lapping against the prairie shore - perfect fodder for the calm little critter.
Not only a great outcome for the muskrat, but also a great display of humanity. Mike, being the modest fellow he is, sort of shrugged off the incident, but I think it speaks volumes about small acts of kindness making a big difference. As Mike put it, "Our world has become a tough spot for the critters."
Here's to hoping that muskrat settles right in.
Visit Mike's site to see the full range of his amazing photography.