|the mill pond|
There is a lot of beaver sign as soon as I leave the pond. Stumps of saplings and half cut full grown trees are frequent. There is also the peeled sticks left behind, pencil to thumb diameter, with the obvious scooping cut of a beaver incisor...having been rolled in the dextrous front paws just like corn on the cob. Winter is coming, it is a busy time.
A few blue jays scold me as I paddle, but the first bird of note is moth shaped...like a moth with 3ft wings, blunt headed, big bodied. It rises from the shore, unseen until it moves, and easily, instantly identifiable by the absolute silence...not a peep, not the slightest woosh of wing...an owl. It perches a hundred yards off and I can see it's "mule ears". A great horned owl.
At the tight left hander where the water always runs a little swift, it is running fast. A new beaver dam has been built and while it doesn't cross the river completely, it constricts the flow to a narrow channel. It raises the water upstream water level a foot. The new lodge, the reason for the dam, appears within 50 yards of paddling.
|the beaver pond|
Beyond the pond is a section of meanders...narrow with deep water, but very tight turns, almost doubling back on itself. It's a labor for me in my long lake canoe, calling out every stroke that I know...sweeps and pries and well forward draws to pull the nose around...slow down, speed up. Paddling, but without rhythm. Response to the situation. It's a busy time.
|food supply to the left, lodge to the right|
I probably won't get here again before it ices in.