Sunday, April 17, 2011

I refuse to title this post, “nice beaver”.

Many things to report! Yesterday was cool and rainy, and I spent most of it thusly:
…reading “Game of Thrones” on the Kindle. I did not go outside. Correction: I opened the front door a few times, to put the trash out, which I didn’t even bring out to the garage – I left that for Best Beloved to do. I don’t remember the last time I devoted so much of a day immersed in a book – at least a couple of months. Anyway, I may have missed a transition moment, because all of the sudden, as of this morning, this happened:
Today’s project: go looking for beavers. The water level in the pond has been pretty high, and for a while now, I’ve been thinking, “oh, well, it’s just snowmelt from up in the hills, no big deal.” But I got to talking with my neighbor the other day, and their pond, which is at least 100 feet above ours, and which empties into ours via the western tributary, has unusually high water levels. She thought beavers must be active downstream from her, so on a walk today, Best Beloved and I went looking for evidence… and evidence we found.
We started out down the shared driveway toward our neighbors, since that’s the only way to access the south end of the pond. Looking north, then, here we have it. A big fat pond. So far so good. Then I zoomed in on the edge of the pond across the water.
The red circles are all recently cut. Hmmm.
Then there’s the matter of the lodge. I’d seen a beaver lodge all winter and even mentioned it a while back – here’s what it looked like in February, as seen from snowshoes in the middle of the field:
I didn’t know at the time if it was an active lodge. But let’s have a look at it today, from the south end of the pond – zoomed in, of course:
Or better yet:
Fresh mud.
I’m afraid this spells doom for the beavers. Their recent activity is causing the east-most tributary to the pond (the one out by the road – not the stream that runs along our shared driveway) to back up into the field that we and three neighbors drive over to get to the house.
See the glint of water towards the upper left, and separating the green from the brown, to the right? That will only get worse.
Or, from the north end of the pond, facing south, the foreground is usually a very-rarely-rain-flooded meadow. With active beavers here, these waters will continue to back up into the field.

The tributary closest to the lodge runs along the edge of the road. This is as full as I’ve ever seen it. Usually it’s a dry ditch. We tried to get a glimpse of the lodge from the road, with no luck. At some point – heavy sigh – our neighbor will call The Guy Who Traps Beavers. Gulp.
Since we were already here, I checked out the alders (Alnus serrulata).
Last year’s female catkins.
This year’s. Just starting to get going!
AND THE WILLOWS! (Salix whatever)
A bud that’s just opened.
Four at an intermediate stage…

And one bound for glory.

Gray birch (Betula populifolia) buds are still partying. But not all of them. Today we saw several twin sets, where one was rocking out with the red fringe, and the other was all ho hum.
Other finds today:
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) – an early spring flower that likes sandy roadside places, which we have in abundance around here. The “tuss” part refers to coughing. (Tousser, if you’re into French.) It’s been used for a long time for cough medicine. Cool, eh?
Moving on! Into the mystery woodland next to the house. Big news here! Apologies for some blurriness. I think the camera and I were getting tired. Just as you are, reading this post. Hang in there.
As-yet-unidentified little white flower. Tiny! Hairy! And Blurry!
A whole treasure-trove of spring beauties (Claytonia virginica)

A complete new-one-to-me…
No idea what this is – once it opens up, I’ll have a shot at identifying it.

A TROUT LILY! I don’t know what kind yet, as all we have so far is the leaf. Which I notice belatedly is not in focus. Whoops.
And other mysteries – spring woodland flowers, tiny, just popping up:
That’s it for the flower report.
Here’s one more go at the beaver lodge, from our bedroom window:
Oh, and by the way? I ran 13 miles this morning!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely ! I am encouraged to be out in the woods again !