Saturday, December 1, 2018

Three Beaver Day in the Selden Channel

I headed up long backwater having seen a fair amount of beaver sign in the past...scent mounds, drags and a small lodge.  As I neared the upper end of the backwater I was thinking, "not a single sign of beaver" when I came to a blocking beaver dam.  It is a very old dam and has not seen any maintenance in a long time.  I figure that the only time I've been up here the water was higher or I would've noticed the dam as it is 40 feet long.  Beaver archeology can be just about as interesting as human archeology.

Half of the dam
I set out on a crisp sunny day with not a cloud in the sky and barely any breeze at all.  I put in at Ely's Ferry Road and hugged the eastern shoreline up to the mouth of Hamburg Cove, where the two Ely houses are situated.  I think it is safe to guess that the former ferry and the houses have some relationship.  From there I continued up to the Selden Channel, also known as Selden Creek although it resembles a creek no more than it resembles an airport, at least since a mid 19th century flood rearranged it. 

Ely House
Selden Channel
Once in the channel a Great Blue Heron escorted me for a few hundred yards, a Kingfisher scolded me for another hundred, then I turned up the backwater mentioned above.  When I returned to the channel I did not go far before spotting a small beaver on the shore. It took to the water and then, most uncharacteristically, it dove without the slap of its tail.  I waited near a minute and found it about 60 yards downstream swimming back and forth waiting to see what I would do, which is typical behavior for beaver.  Most amphibious mammals will swim to shore and find a hole to hide in.  Beaver will stay in the water until you leave, swimming side to side and often diving with a slap of the tail.
Castor Canadensis
Near the cliffs, I spot a large flock of Robins.  I'm not sure what I'm seeing because I've never seen so many Robins together, but that is what they are.  Fifty would be a safe estimate.

Just past the cliffs two large splashes bring my eyes to two adult beaver that have launched themselves from the bank with my arrival.  I get a tail slap from each as I paddle by.  I find a new beaver lodge across from the island cabin.  There is a large supply of winter food stashed immediately downstream.  From here I make my return.
New Beaver Lodge
I find two Common Loons near the mouth of Hamburg Cove.  They still have their summer colors.

I make a small detour over to a stranded boat.  I passed it on the way out but figured they were fishing.  I asked if they needed me to tow them free, but they politely declined.  They stuck it in the very long sandbar that runs from the island at Hamburg Cove.  They were waiting for high tide and the Coast Guard had arranged to come if they didn't float free.

1 comment:

MyrtleMeander said...

How exciting. I’d be happy to see even one Castor canadensis, let alone all the critters you’ve seen. I’ve had huge flicks of robins this fall- they stop off to eat all the fruit on the winterberry I planted for them in the yard. Native food/native species.