Archive for November, 2015

Everybody Loves a Beaver Pond

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

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We didn’t realize how much natural activity a beaver pond attracts until we set up an automated game camera alongside the beaver dam. Besides the beavers and bobcats, we captured a variety of birds and beasts.

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The wood ducks have been especially enthusiastic visitors, paddling around the deep water behind the dam, and dabbling around the shallow water along the face of the dam.  The blue heron has appeared multiple times, mostly hunting on the downstream side of the dam, but sometimes alongside the dam and at least once, jumping into the pond in water up to his waist.

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During the day, squirrels and chipmunks use the damn as a bridge to an opposite shore that otherwise is inconvenient or impossible for them to visit.

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We’ve seen a lot of raccoons on the game cam, or more likely, a lot shots of the same one. He regularly crossed the first dam multiple times a night, and it didn’t take him long to find the new dam.

Busy Beavers

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

When the beaver dam first appeared, one of our neighbors said that if we knocked a hole in it and waited, we’d soon see some beavers. We had the patience to try that—once.  Then we came up with the idea of using the game camera to find out when they were active, and what they were up to. It took a couple weeks of experimentation to figure out where to put the automated camera and how to use it. Our initial results came up with just about everything but a beaver, including the surprising appearance of a bobcat.  The stills from the game camera confirmed that our beaver were entirely nocturnal, so we decided to set the camera in video mode and enjoy the beavers from the comfort of indoors.

 

This short video contains the best of several weeks worth of observation.  Over that period of time, the dam became at least a foot taller, and probably several feet wider, creating a pool that was at least 4 feet deep in places.  The beaver pond became a popular hangout for wood ducks, a heron, and served as a bridge for squirrels, chipmunks, and at least one very fat raccoon.  The dam also was totally incompatible with local agriculture, blocking the drainage from several hundred acres of farmland.  The dam would have to come down, and last Friday, it did.  However, the beaver are still at work, now on a new dam, and I’ve reset the game camera to see what they do.

Bobcats and Beavers

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

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After a couple of fruitless attempts at catching our busy beavers with the game camera, Kirk and I about fell over when we swapped memory cards, checked the previous nights images, and found that a bobcat had strolled past the breach we’d made in the left side of the dam.

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The game camera did not get any shots of the beavers repairing the dam (see the breach visible just above the bobcat in the shots above), but when the bobcat returned 5 hours later, the breach had mostly been repaired.

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What’s especially interesting about the second series of bobcat shots is that it also captured the beaver. Note the white dot in the dark water just to the left of the tall upright branch above. That’s the infrared light of the game camera reflecting off the eye of a beaver swimming towards the bobcat.

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16 seconds after the bobcat walks away from the game camera’s field of view, the swimming beaver reaches the shore where the bobcat had been standing. In the shots below, you can see the beaver’s eyes swimming back to the right.

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An hour later, a raccoon made the first of two appearances, but we didn’t see any more evidence of beaver or bobcat.

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