Friday, November 30, 2018

New Beaver Lodge

Finally, a calm day has come.  This month has been rainy according to the weather service, but it has also been windy and a good many days were just plain unsuitable for canoeing.  It is the first drysuit day of the fall with the air temperature under 40 and the water temperature not much more than that.

I spot beaver sign just a hundred yards out from the start.  It is a fallen tree that is either still green with sap or still alive, its root ball still anchored in the marsh.  A beaver has climbed up on the trunk and been gnawing the bark off of one of the now vertical limbs.

New Lodge
Not more than another 50 yards and I see on the bank a new and well fortified beaver lodge.  It is 5 feet tall at the peak and perhaps only 8 feet in diameter, a bit unique in proportion as lodges go.  The exterior is well sealed with fresh mud and a minor peninsula of winter food store protrudes some 20 ft out from the shore.  There is a well used and currently flooded beaver drag on the downriver side of the lodge.  In time, such drags often cut the lodge free from the shore adding a protective moat.  Just another 50 yards up, I find a newly cut tree, a foot in diameter, and a few others that have been worked on.  The drags show this to be a busy feeding site.
Winter food storage for the lodge
As I round the point into Salmon Cove, I spy a Nuthatch, easily identified as it clings upside down on a tree trunk. I flush a Kingfisher and sight a Pileated Woodpecker working a sprawling tree that has been gnawed at the base by beaver, most likely due to the distance, from another lodge.

Pileated Woodpecker
At the top of the cove I head up the Moodus, flushing 10 Common Mergansers and a Great Blue Heron at the first bend.  I can only get up about half the normal distance as the high water level won't let me sneak under a couple of downed trees.  It is a good place to pour a cup of hot coffee.

I return to the cove and continue up the river as far as the Leesville Dam.  A good amount of water is coming over the low head dam and the current was stiff for the final 200 yards.  I turn about and head down river just as a light snow begins to fall.

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