Background Switcher (Hidden)

Twilight at the Beaver Pond

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Although I've had some wonderful experiences with large wet rodents during daylight hours lately, in general, if you want to see Castor canadensis, you've got to get out at twilight. (I hope you appreciate my delicate choice of words.) So Chet and I timed our walk so night would be falling as we reached the beaver pond. Baker: Wait, Mether. I have business here.

It's about a 45-minute hike to the pond, so we set out when the sun was slanting low, confident that we'd find our way back by using the roads rather than our tenuous woodland path. I took a lead along for that part. Chet runs free in the woods and on little gravel roads, but if we're near pavement he's on the lead. He knows that, too, runs up to me and grabs at the leash as we near the county road.

We broke out of the flowery woods and onto the place where a stream flows right across the little dirt road. Chet loves to wade there, but he was disappointed to find it dry this evening.
After a well-watered start, our summer has dried up like an old prune. For once, though, they got it right up there: Rain when things are growing; stop raining when things are dying. Generally the southern Ohio weather gods do the converse.

We got to the pond and marveled at its full-summer beauty.
Emergent aquatics have taken over one bank.
Everywhere was the clunk of green frogs; there are two in this photo, who I didn't perceive until I stepped closer, and both launched into the water with their sweet froggy EEP!
I was actually shooting for the beaver food on the well-trammeled bank. Imagine eating bark as your staple diet. Well, I don't have to imagine it...I love Grape Nuts and Fiber One. I bet bark would be cheaper and just as nutritious. Is the root of nutritious ...nutria?

Beaver highways led up from the pond into the woods. They're whaling on the trees all around the pond.
This highway crossed the road, leading up into the mystery of the woods.
To be truthful, I heard, then spotted the beaver immediately upon coming on the scene, but I've saved him until the end for dramatic tension. What you hear in the twilight sounds a little bit like a baby crying, but it's the beaver, muttering and commenting on everything he does. Watching him, I thought of a big, wet guinea pig, weee weee wee ooga ooga ooga.
He chomped noisily on his sticks, peeling the bark off them, sounding like a giant mouse somewhere in the wall.
He swam closer in a big loop, complaining the whole way. Chet stood riveted on the bank, not moving except to tremble. Good boy.
At the closest point, he rared his hinders up and slapped his tail on the water--ker SPLOOSH!! just to let us know he knew we were there. Then he went back to chewing and mumbling. Oh, it was wonderful. This is my best photo. I know they're not fabulous, but it was dark, folks, and the Chimp doesn't use flash on unsuspecting crepuscular animals.

I could hear a second animal somewhere near the bank, but never saw that one. This must have been Boss Beaver.

It was more than time to turn for home. It is so delicious to walk at night. But it's something that mothers rarely get to do, because children get antsy when their mother is out there somewhere in the dark. Thank you, B., for taking the kids camping, and letting me stay home to wander a little.
The lights of a nearby farm twinkled, and the moon rose over the tulips.


I got the joke, Hehee

Jared from Denton Texas

You would get the joke, Jared, as you're down there in the land of really large wet rodents.

Kathi, I'm told by someone much smarter than I that New York ironweed doesn't occur in Ohio. So it's all altissima.

No flash at twilight is right. Your photos make me groan for a walk at dusk with only the sound of a Boston Terrier snorfing the ground and your own footsteps. Beavers, water, and sunset. Yeah. It's therapy better than a Calgon bath and candlelight.

LOL Julie... I eat Fiber One every single morning, sprinkled with some raisins and with Silk Vanilla Soy Milk poured over it. Guess I am part beaver too? :c)

Nice pics. I tend to give beavers plenty of room, after a friend of mine was bitten by one several years ago as she was walking her dogs near a beaver pond. You've seen what a beaver can do to a tree - imagine what it can do to your leg! She had to be hospitalized.


Could you tell me the circumstances? How did you friend get close enough to the animal to get bitten? Did it charge her?
I'm curious because I used to watch some tame beavers in Maryland, even gave them apples--but never from my hand. I've never heard of anyone being bitten by a beaver. I do appreciate the word of caution, but the Chimp, being a chimp, wants details!

Hi Juile - she was walking her dogs along the edge of the beaver pond, and the beaver (on land) charged at her and the dog. She was trying to grab the dogs when the beaver bit her leg. Animal control thought that it was a female beaver with young nearby, and that the presence of the dogs caused her to feel threatened enough to attack.

A friend just across the border in VA has a bunch of beavers in her creek. They eventually made their way into her yard and chewed down all of her young trees. She says that having beavers in your yard is like having a yard full of teenagers on their first day with a new chainsaw. But now she's got a nice sunny spot for a new fenced-in garden, courtesy of the beavers.

Shudder! Thanks for the details,d.g.
I cannot imagine being bitten by a beaver, having seen what they can do to a hard maple.

I'm sitting in a dark Manhattan apartment in front of a computer, fans shoving the bellicose air around, half a martini down, half to go, but I swear I can smell the ozone in those pictures. Many thanks for taking and posting them.

Rats, wrong again. I have accepted that I don't know the yellow flowers, but I thought I knew the purple ones.

~Kathi, who will have nightmares tonight about giant rampaging beaver mothers biting her in the leg

Gotta admire the persistence of those 'crepuscular' creatures even as destructive as they can be in more residential areas -- 'busy as a beaver' isn't just a catch-phrase.
Too bad so many of us no longer feel free to take such nighttime walks alone anymore :-(

Wow, that was cool Julie! I've seen beavers in the wild, but never been close enough to actually hear them "muttering." It's nice to be able to end your day out in the woods. Thanks for sharing this story and pictures.

love this post! we don't have beavers on the cape and i've only seen one once in my life! i think it's all very cool to have them so nearby. i have to go quite a bit farther west or north (or south) to see them. lovely pictures.

[Back to Top]