Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Active beaver lodge

Last weekend, Bob Z and Janet enjoyed that beautiful Quabbin gate 37
hike, the one with the spectacular overlook of the reservoir. We
noticed that the beaver lodge (in the wetland at the beginning of the
hike) appeared freshly plastered with mud, suggesting that it is an
active lodge.

The question of how to tell if a lodge is active has come up many
times. As time passes and I accumulate "dirt time", I am beginning to
appreciate the variability in behavior within a given species. As for
beavers, it is often written that a lodge is not active in winter (in
northern climes) unless there is a cache of branches next to it, and not
active in summer unless it is plastered with mud. Well, I'm pretty sure
I've seen exceptions to both of these "rules", already. Anyway, the one
pictured above is pretty clearly active. Someone has been busy winter
proofing the house.

On the way back, we bushwhacked through the federated women's forest, in
the same general area that Susan, Dan, and I did last spring. But last
spring, as I recall, we were puzzled to see such an abundance porcupine
feeding sign on hemlocks, while there seemed to be very few porcupine
dens. However, last weekend, Bob and I seemed to be finding them
everywhere. We must have seen 7 or 8 winter dens.

Moose sign was abundant. In addition to the old sign, there was some
fresh scat at the end of the hike, near the clearcuts and the brook. I
think the beaver wetland in that area would be a good place to go moose
peeping in June, when moose spend more time feeding in wetlands.

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