Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lodge Tour

My friend C. joins me on a sunny morning for the portage down to Portage Bay. I show her some of my beaver lodge drawings before we head out, so I opt for Portage Bay because it not only has a fine beaver lodge, but also a beaver bank burrow. We find a dead beaver near the bank burrow, which is probably a spring adolescent. They are kicked out of the lodge when they are about two years old and this is a very vulnerable time for them. Beaver are very territorial and finding new territory is not easy for an inner-city beaver. I probe the entry channel to the burrow with my paddle to show her how the beaver have kept it 3 to 4 feet deep a good 30 feet from the burrow itself while the rest of the water is more like 18 inches.

Once through the crossing under place, we head north, visiting the marsh wren nesting site, which is silent again. I wonder if the wren has moved to a better location. There didn't seem to be enough cattail here for the dozen dummy nests that he needs to build to attract a mate.

Ravenna Creek blocked by a cattail "berg"

We plan on heading a ways up into Ravenna Creek, but find that a cattail island, perhaps 20 x 50 feet, has blocked the mouth entirely. I have no idea where this came from and I will now have to go looking for missing pieces from the islands. I can't imagine that any of the missing pieces of the floating cattail island in the east marsh could have worked their way into this spot.

We head across the north shore. There are herons all around today and we see a couple of the beautiful cinnamon teal. We are also seeing turtles everywhere, this being only the second good warm basking day in quite some time. They are stacked up on logs like plates leaning against each other. There's also a couple sets of goslings near the north point.

We go south to the big lodge, which always impresses. It deserves it's title and it somehow appears even larger to me today. I point out the goose nest, which C. finds more mimimalist than expected. Then we squirm back into the beaver forest. It is the first time that I have taken anyone back here, the water being the ideal depth for two of us in the canoe.

Then through the east channel of the burial island to witness the scent mounds and beaver drags. In the south lagoon we pause to watch a heron hunt. It is very deliberately following something in the water, turning then holding still, then turning and holding still. When it strikes, the heron goes full into the water, not just the usual darting of the bill. It brings up a 7 or 8 inch long fish, which it slides down its throat. It takes just 20 seconds from catch to swallow.

1 comment:

Dan McShane said...

I will have to add cat tail berg to my lexicon.