Thursday, May 16, 2019

High Water in Salmon Cove

I had a hunch that they would be over here on this side of the river although I had never seen them.  I picked up the scent before seeing any sign. 
Garbage haul - messy pebble flotation foam
I set out on the highest water that I've seen on this part of the river.  Full sized drift tree trunks that littered the parking lot showed that the water had been at least three feet higher during the last few days.  I diverted my usual paddle up the river into a day of exploring the interior of the swamp.  Narrow channels that normally were too thin for a canoe were easy passages, although they always ended up being dead ends. 

There are now four Osprey nests, all in the lower end of the cove.  Three of them are naturals - built in trees, while the fourth is a platform nest. 

I headed up the river side of the cove, which is separated from the river by a long strip of cedar swamp.  The first inlet into that swamp ran about a 1/4 mile before vegging out.  I found out that there was a long shrubbed berm that blocked a shortcut back into the cove.  I suppose it might have been old shoreline at sometime. 

Soon after heading back up the edge of the swamp I caught the scent of castoreum lingering on fairly calm warm air.  A couple canoe lengths further, I spotted a very large beaver lodge, which I was able to paddle right up to and around.  Even with the high water, it was 5-1/2 feet tall, figure 7 ft at normal water levels.  This would be a fully developed colony, 2 breeding adults, a couple 1-2 year old adolescents, and a couple first year kits.  There was a good amount of winter food still in the water (in climates where ice forms, saplings and branches are stockpiled in the mud as a food supply for iced in conditions) that they did not need to use this winter. 

Big Lodge
I continued along the edge and found a second lodge a couple hundred yards away.  This one was ramshackle and I could not be sure if it was in use.
Ramshackle Lodge
With the high water I was able to explore the wetland in the corner of the cove, which turned out to be quite scenic with bouldered hillsides and a small cascading creek.  There was also a small beaver lodge.  Based on the size, the inhabitants were probably not breeding yet.  I caught a glimpse of what was either a small beaver or a large muskrat and also noted recent beaver cut trees.
The gates of the Moodus
I headed up the cove and into the Moodus River.  Downed trees that I normally duck under were walling off the upper half of the short trip, which I am familiar enough with not to have to go clambering over logs.  There is another large lodge on the bank up here...definitely a breeding colony.
Moodus Lodge

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