I brought my camera traps in prior to this past weekend's tropical
downpour. Otter Point, which had provided nice photos of three otters a
few weeks ago, didn't get much action. The highlight was a visit by two
shaggy white dogs, who focused in on the fishy scats near the shore.
I was disappointed in the photos, until I checked the camera I'd placed
at a new location, Beaver Crossing. (I'm going to adopt Sue Morse's
habit of giving cute names to every place I track) This spot is right
by the edge of the water, and it looked to me like beaver were starting
to build a scent mount there. I set up a camera focused on the small
pile of bottom muck, and waited.
When I went back to retrieve the camera, I wrote it off as a washout -
the mound hadn't gotten any bigger, and I didn't see any evidence that
animals had visited. When I looked at the photos, however, I realized
that this was a beaver highway!
Beaver and otter haul out of the water here. The pile of debris must
have accumulated from the animals as they exited the water. Raccoon and
red fox also got their photos taken as they worked their way along the
shore. Most of the photos were blurry, but I also recognized a mouse,
and possibly a weasel.
I've reset the camera at Beaver Crossing, and took some time to try to
determine why beaver were choosing this spot to come up on land. I
found an exposed pine root nearby that had been gnawed on, but very
little sign of fresh browse. The vegetation in the area, though, had
been hammered repeatedly in the past. I walked along the bank, and
every place I saw sign of recent beaver activity, the older vegetation
had stump-sprouted and showed significant brooming.