Friday, December 11, 2009

Beaver at work

Beaver are working hard at this time of year, venturing up on the bank
to cut saplings, and freshening up their scent markers. This has been
one of the most productive photo trap locations, and I almost passed it
up. The only sign of activity I saw was a small pile of vegetation that
looked like it had recently been hauled up from the pond bottom. I
mistakenly thought this was the beginning of a scent mound building
project (gotta use those beaver stimulus funds!). When I went back to
retrieve the camera, there was no new material deposited on the bank, so
I thought the location was a bust. Only when I looked at the photos did
I realize this was a haul-out point for beaver, raccoon, and otter, and
that plenty of other animals were passing through as well.

About 20 feet from the water, I found an exposed pine tree root that had
been gnawn upon. Gnawn! Whether this was the reason the beaver were
coming up onto land, or if it just happened to be tasty snack en route
to other browse, I don't know. I never found really fresh browse, but
as the third photo shows, the beaver were definitely cutting vegetation
and bringing it back to the water. There was considerable stump
sprouting in the area, evidence that the vegetation had been repeatedly
hammered by beaver in the past.

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