|3 of 4 new beaver kits chew on willow leaves with their mother in the background|
Following the disastrous dam rupture at our main beaver Pond, our beaver colony moved downstream to a practically invisible and inaccessible pond, aptly named Secret Pond. Ever since, I have been trying to ascertain the health of the colony and it has proved to be somewhat of a challenge. In short, I have not been able to confirm the presence of several of the adults including May Apple –the colony’s patriarch. In my last post on this subject (dated June 24th), I was convinced that I had seen him working on one of the new dams, and I even captioned one of the pictures with his name, but I’ve since concluded that I had actually seen Blueberry, May Apple’s 2-yr old son, who resembles him in many respects.
As I mentioned in that previous post, the disaster had brought the season’s new beaver kits out of the lodge a little prematurely. I now know that there are a total of 4 new kits. They are quite small, but they are clearly eating solid food and are well adept at diving through the lodge’s underwater tunnels. In fact, the youngsters enjoy a large degree of independence around 2 ponds where they play, explore and generally harass each other and their adult kinfolk.
The beavers’ work at Secret Pond and at 3rd Pond has managed to bring the water levels up to respectable levels. Through dam building and dredging, the deep water areas have been expanded at the 2 ponds, thus enabling the beavers to more easily transport their construction materials to where they are needed. Also, the entrances to the 3rd Pond’s lodge are now submerged, which will make it much harder for intruders to enter.
Much of the other pond dwelling wildlife have now moved from the upstream disaster zone to the newly restored ponds. Ducks, fish, frogs, dragonflies and even Whirligig Beetles are all in residence now. The more closed in and shaded complexion of Secret Pond attracts shyer species. Songbirds like Tanagers, Towhee and Thrasher sometimes sing from branches at the water’s edge. Veery, Kingbird and Baltimore Oriole also call while hunting for the insects –many of which are also attracted by the water.
The nature experience at the bank of this pond is a quite intimate one. While sitting on the shore, it is easy to be completely immersed in the activities of the wildlife –the beavers are right there –only a few feet away. The birds sometimes fly right in front of my face and even occasionally attempt to land on me. Damselflies actually do land on my legs, and I often have a Green Frog sitting beside me as I scribble down notes on the beavers.
|Mother Julia comes on shore to chew on some greens|
|Julia and Blueberry engage in mutual grooming --it's a beaver thing to do|
|The lodge at 3rd Pond is now occupied, if not exactly fixed up|
Meanwhile, a portion of the impressive crater that was once our largest beaver pond has already begun to turn green with plant sprouts. Grass seeds as well as a variety of other plant seeds that have lain dormant in the mud are taking advantage of this opportunity to grow. If the beavers continue to leave this pond’s dam in disrepair, this pond basin will quickly transform into a beaver meadow. The rich silt that collected at the bottom of the pond facilitates a fantastic growth rate of plants; so within a month, a lush meadow will be growing were beavers once swam.
|A beaver kit reaches out for an Aspen leaf|