Sunday, April 21, 2013

March 22 to 31, 2013

March 22 back on March 20 I saw how the 5 inches of fresh wet snow and continuing cold almost closed the small openings behind the dam that the beavers had been using to forage out of and presumably relax in and around.

Today I saw that the beavers hadn’t resumed using the hole though it had melted out some.

However we saw tracks coming from openings in the ice made by the inlet creek on the back side of the pond. They were laid by several turkeys and their prints and trails in soft snow a few inches deep can look much like beaver trails.

When got over to the inlet we still hoped to see beaver tracks but we didn’t. The turkeys seemed to have come for a drink.

I think they came down from the wooded ridge southeast of the pond.

At this time of year, beaver trails yo-yo back and forth from open water. Turkeys trot over hill and dale and come to patches of open water for a drink. Usually we see mink tracks around the ponds on our land during the winter, and we did back in early February, but not so much recently. Today I saw the trail of a mink through the snow heading to the Third Pond.

I hoped to see which hole in the bank or pond it ran to but the snow on the pond didn’t tell any tales.

March 23 today when I inspected the Deep Pond at our land, I again saw tracks around the open patches in the ice around the inlet creek, and could see that beavers laid those tracks. The snow along the edges of the open ice was stained wet. Turkeys wouldn’t do that. The freshest looking tracks were the in the first trail I came to which was made by a beaver walking back to the open water.

So I began back tracking to see where the beaver had been. Its tracks passed a clump of nipped saplings.

I am struck that what they cut looks to have the same diameter. These saplings are a few feet from the water so I don’t think the beaver was worried about the heft of what it was cutting. I don’t think the beaver cut anything there on this trip because I soon saw that it had been carrying something relatively thin as it approached that clump on its way back to the inlet. The drag marks of the stick it was carrying are hard to see in the photo below.

Judging from how slight the drag marks are, I think the beaver was carrying a relatively light load. The beaver walked over the remains of the juniper branches that were cut by this beaver or the other beaver last summer. The diameter of those branches were twice the size of what it is cutting now.

The snow in the woods seemed softer. The beaver didn’t look as light footed.

In other years beavers cut some maples with more heft, 3 or 4 inches in diameter. I speculated that there might have been enough regrowth of maples from roots and stumps if not seeds for beavers to find food here again. I noticed the trail of a smaller animal, perhaps a rabbit, crossing the beaver’s trail.

I often take photos of crossing trails to remind myself that tracks are in space and judging the time they were made is a bit tricky. Anyway, I soon saw that the beavers here now might have girdled some of the bigger maples still in the woods, but seem to have no interest in cutting them down. (I turned back to get the photo below to show more of the girdling.)

On the fringe of the woods closer to the inlet, I found back and forth prints suggesting that this is the place where the beaver nipped something, but what?

I could see the drag mark coming from the midst of all the tracks and I could see where it looked like the beaver got its nose down in the snow. But my close-up photo didn’t reveal what the beaver cut. If I didn’t see the drag marks leaving the area, I would say that the beaver nosed down to eat some moss or a bit of fern.

Backtracking the beaver to the inlet creek, I passed the largest tree I’ve ever seen these beavers address, but only to girdle it, not cut it down.

Then once out of the woods, I passed several clumps of the small bore sticks that it seemed the beaver was after but passed by.

There are a number of ways to look at this. After being confined under pond ice for so long, the beaver was probably not in a hurry to get back into the pond. It might have needed a little walking exercise. That explains its circular route and getting perhaps the farthest of the little sticks it was after. And as we learned when we tap maple trees in the spring, all trees do not react to spring at the same time. Perhaps the beaver can smell or see which of these small sticks is the juiciest, if that is what they are after. I should add that over the years of watching beavers foraging in the spring, I am used to seeing the beavers cut, strip, haul and segment much larger trees. When I got back down to the inlet creek, I saw that school was not over for me. There was trail so worn in the snow going into the small woods west of the inlet that it was browned. The beavers’ going back and forth had molded the snow down into the creek where the wet muddy belly of the beavers came up where fallen ice blocked progress up the creek.

The beavers’ trail went straight up into the woods.

And again, at first it looked like the beavers just nipped the smallest sticks. But on this side of the inlet, I could at least see wood chips left behind next to the fresh beaver prints.

At one point, as the beaver passed one small stick of a sapling, it veered to left and nosed down to get another one.

The beaver found a sapling just the right size between two larger trees.

Then the beaver’s trail headed down toward a small vernal creek that came down from more substantial woods where there were few saplings.

I didn’t see anything cut down there. The beaver went back up the slope toward the pond and finally I saw a sapling that was about 2 inches in diameter at the base of the trunk that was neatly cut and taken away with only several wood chips left behind.

But the several saplings I saw nipped were all half that size or even less.

I am pretty sure I was following at least two beaver trails and unlike on the east side of the inlet creek these trails were not simple circles. The beaver seemed to go to particular places until I saw the end of one trail. A beaver bumped into a dead tree trunk lying in the snow about 2 feet high. It made a feint to the left and then turned back.

I tracked that trail to the well worn snow. The beaver or beavers have evidently been back and forth here more than on the other side of inlet creek.

Back in the summer I expected that they would do their foraging in the woods on the other side of the creek. They did girdle more trees over there but nipped fewer saplings to take into the pond. Meanwhile Leslie had taken a hike on the other side of our land up on the wooded ridges beyond where we have our house and she saw fisher tracks. So I followed her tracks and saw where the fisher came down from a cut through the ridge behind our cabin.

We used to see fisher tracks on our land every winter but we think a fellow raising sheep as a hobby who lives within a couple miles does all he can to kill fishers. So I was back tracking again. I figured seeing what the fisher did up on the ridge would tell me more about it in a short time than following its trail on the flat of the valley. I followed the tracks to the high point of the ridge

And my heart leapt when I thought I saw the tracks come from a den like ledge but the tracks didn’t come from it.

The fisher had run through one of our many large patches of junipers which are easy to run through if you are light footed in the snow. I’m not.

I think the fisher had come up directly from the valley below rather than running along the ridge, which was interesting -- if I could only figure out why it came up on the ridge. I sort of know all the tricks of the fishers on the island since I have tracked them every winter, but fishers have been too scarce on our land. I have no feel for what it means to them.

March 24 Our tapping trees and boiling sap has been keeping us at the land everyday, but not exactly busy. The weather is teasing, the trees fickle. So I have been collecting firewood which is not easy because in the woods and valley the snow is still a foot or two deep and thawing wet. The Last Pond channel is coming back to life but the water is so meager I don’t think I can brag on my dam patching yet.

Looking up channel, I didn’t see any open water, but I did see plenty of large ungirdled trees which reminded me that while the beavers probably cut and killed 500 trees in the valley, they left plenty behind.

I walked up to the Turtle bog via an area where I had been cutting larger ironwoods. I couldn’t remember if I had cut up and removed what I had cut. I hadn’t. The turtle bog, as I expected, was completely snow covered. We have a relatively easy trail along side of the bog but walking on the ice and snow down the middle of the bog is always a treat,

And I am not alone in enjoying this. As usual the deer and rabbits crossed the pond and the coyotes and turkeys walked down the middle of the pond. A genius could date the tracks in the snow below. I’ll say deer first, then rabbit, the coyote.

All the animals, me too, are making up for lost time when they walk here. The snow is deeper everywhere else on the ridge and draped over entanglements, though more junipers than stickers.

The parallel tracks of different animals suggest a crowd which suggests confusion, but, believe me, when walking down here all animals can briefly clear their heads, even the turkeys.

Meanwhile I found more trees I had on my list to cut up and I went back to get my bow saw and get to work. Other than a few small flying insects and a few distant ravens all was quiet.

March 25 I did a double take when I saw the tracks around the inlet’s open water today. It looked like a beaver walked around the patch of open water without going into it.

Then it came up to the first line of vegetation, nipped I know not what or nothing, and then circled back to the water.

I noticed the other day that an old rotting downed tree trunk seemed to persuade the beaver turn around and return to the water. Once again a beaver walked out to a tree trunk, walked along it and then returned to the water.

All this happened just a few yards from the water. I also had noted that the beavers here liked to walk by the clumps of saplings they had already cut, but today I saw tracks heading straight to and from the pond, seemingly avoiding distractions.

I followed the trail back to the water and then noticed evidence a bit off that last trail that a beaver doesn’t cut all the saplings growing out of a stump at once. It came back in the last few months to cut the last of four.

As the snow settles and melts, the work of the past few months is revealed. When I returned in February I immediately noticed a large ash that had been cut down since I left in mid-September. Now I saw a smaller cut ash a few yard up stream that had been covered by the snow since I got back.

Let me be first to admit that these are idle observations proving nothing, but that’s my point. Neither the beavers nor I have anything to prove. The swamps and woods are not laboratories. Deductions need not be drawn. Yes, the beavers have brought me down to their level, though I am well aware that they are better equipped for the task at hand. The poor photo below shows my work, trimming an ironwood that fell into a tangle of buckthorns and honeysuckles.

I use a bow saw. When I get the tangles away, and branches off, I cut logs that I’ll cut again and split for firewood. But I am being somewhat modest. I can draw deductions from my work. I am getting too old to do it, and I have never been able to do it as well as a beaver.

March 26 In the midst of collecting sap in the morning, we saw migrating snow geese high over head, several stunning chevrons, white in a cloudless blue sky. I hurried and got my camcorder and took some video that hardly captures what we saw. Because of the bright sun, I couldn’t see what the camera was seeing. The viewing screen was too small.

The group in the photo below was one of the smallest we saw. Other chevrons had a hundred or so geese.

While we were away in the fall, Ottoleo found some muskrat traps in the channel of the Last Pool which is well into our land. I wasn’t worried because I was pretty sure there were no muskrats there since the beavers left. But we had Ottoleo post our property which means yellow no-trespassing signs every 30 yards or so. If your land is not posted, anyone caught simply plays dumb and local judges and state wildlife officials are disposed to let them off the hook anyway. One of our neighbors thought some of the signs were on his land. When we came back in February the snow started mounting up so today was the first day I could somewhat easily check the far-flung corner of our land. The line runs along a cliff. We own the land on top, more or less. It would be a handsome cliff to own though we much prefer the other side of the ridge with all its flowers and ferns. I took down signs that were too forward that I could reach. Much ado about nothing but nothing makes good neighbors not even fences.

I went down to see what the beavers had been up to at the Deep Pond and as approached I heard something dive into the open water behind the dam. I retreated and went up the road a bit and came down to the west shore of the pond in a way that would position me far enough from that open water not to alarm a beaver, not that I expected the beaver to come back out. However, we were in the midst of the nicest day this spring, with sun and the temperature over 50F and just a light wind. Sure enough, after I stood there about 5 minutes, the beaver’s head surfaced in the water behind the dam.

I got my camcorder out and watched as the beaver slowly raised its head out of the water.

Then its whole body and it swam over to the dam, turned back to me and started eating small stalks of vegetation.

So there was my old friend, and my friendship may soon be the end of him. A truck came down the road and I knew it was easy enough to see the open water behind the dam from the road. So I hid my camcorder at my side and looked the other way. The truck stopped and a voice said “How are your two otters?” I walked up to the road and found that my interlocutor was one of the six men raised in the house at the end of the road. No electricity down there either. Anyway during the winter he saw two otters in the pond. They even broke through the ice and chirped at him. We talked for about 10 minutes, sharing insights about the land. He used to work for a former owner and had the freedom of his family’s land and his employer’s. He told me that his mother said that White Swamp was a maple woods at first. The trees were cut and became a hayfield and then that was flooded thanks to a beaver dam. No suggestion that the beavers cut the maples. Oh yes, he could see and hear the beaver at the dam. He said he never trapped beavers, only muskrats. That the beaver I saw today was so tame, and that earlier there seemed to be a beaver quick to panic and dive when Leslie or I was around encourages me to believe that there are still two beavers here.

March 28 yesterday walking down on our dock, I saw a dead mudpuppy high up on the ramp, evidently killed by the mink that ranges there and left behind because it is unpalatable. Or a bird could have dropped it.

Ottoleo and I went down at night the next day with a flashlight but didn’t see any mudpuppies in the water, only one small gobie. On the 27th I took a photo showing how low the water is at the end of the dock.

I don’t think we’ve ever seen the water lower at this time of year. While we are gone in the fall, the water level was even lower. While there was snow in February which eventually amounted to almost 2 feet in the woods, there have been no heavy rains and 2 feet of snow does not amount to much water. Of course, the thawing continues. Today we went to our land after a very cold night. I could see that the patch of open water behind the dam had grown a bit but now was clogged with new ice, all very thin of course and perhaps the beavers broke some.

At the inlet the patch of open water has widened into a pleasing shape and it looked like the beavers or at least one of them had just been out there.

There were two thin 4 foot long sticks on the east side of the inlet, plus there was a little pile of twigs perhaps trimmed from the sticks,

but I didn’t and probably couldn’t have reconstructed what happened. I am not even sure what kind tree or shrub they collected and no tracks were clear today so I didn’t try to figure out where they cut the sticks. Going up the inlet I could see that the beavers had done some dredging.

The water looks plenty deep now but the thawing has been slow and a week ago the beavers were probably scraping the bottom if they swam completely under water. I am still not sure where the beavers are staying. Last summer they seemed to shift among three different burrows along the east shore. The one in the middle, where the bank is highest, seems to be the only generating enough heat to keep the snow about it melting.

So perhaps they are both staying there, but there is no opening in the ice in front of the burrow which I would think a lot of beaver traffic in and out would make. Meanwhile, I am getting a bit tired of just looking at ice and snow now that it is spring. On the island there is plenty of bare ground and open water, but on our land, one has to poke into damp grottos to see green.

Patience. We heard a song sparrow singing at our land today, always later here than on the island. We’ve seen furtive robins here, more on the island. Chipmunks around our house on the island but not here. Ravens are chatty. Eagles are gone and vultures are back. The sap is still dripping and we are still boiling.

March 29 we headed off on Antler Trail heading for South Bay hopefully to hear some clinking ice where the end of the remaining ice shelf meets the waves generated by the west wind. The snow had disappeared along most of the trail,

which inspired me to search for studies in brown. The dead leaves and bark form the background for deer poop which seems to be about every where.

When I took the photo I didn’t notice the sprouts of green grass breaking through the leaves and pile of poop. When we got around the end of South Bay, we noticed a scent mark high up on the bank next to the old dock at the end of the north cove. A beaver had worked mud around a bit of broken board.

The ice was gone at the end of the bay, I suppose for two reasons. The water level is so low that the ice which was relatively thin was easily washed out toward the river by the water flowing in from the swamps.

As I continued along the shore of the bay, I looked for more beaver signs and the only possible one I saw was a short gnawed stick floating in the water close to the shore.

Farther up the shore the ice pack began, or ended, depending on how you look at it. There has been open water along the shore for a couple of weeks or more. So animals could easily negotiate the ice pack without having to swim under it. Of course I also looked for otter signs and when I got to their latrine above what I call the “docking rock”, though I haven’t docked there in years, it looked like the leaves in the bare spot on the flat just above the rock had been organized or disorganized a bit, depending on the way you look at it.

I couldn’t say that I saw an otter scent mound but when I walked down the slight slope to the rock, but I could say that I saw an otter scat. I saw enough fish scales in the black mass to persuade me that it wasn’t skunk poop.

Out on the rock almost in the water I saw sticks that a beaver had gnawed. Maybe one bit of this meal floated down the shore where I saw it near where the beaver made a scent mark.

Another reason for our hiking around South Bay was to see if any herons had flown in. The end of March is a typical arrival date and a couple times over the years we’ve seen a flock of them flying over the island around this date. But we usually see the first one flying off from the shallow open water of South Bay. Not today, but on the rock that juts out into the bay where the creek from Audubon Pond drains we saw what might be the first heron poop of the year.

Here too the water flowing in pushed the remaining ice out toward the river but farther out it looked like the ice pack was hard against the north shore.

As usual I checked the otter latrine above the entrance to South Bay and I saw three spots where an otter relieved itself, including three scats for varying freshness near each other with what looked like dead leaves scrapped up on edge between them.

A large scat a few yards away, I guess actually two scats on top of each other, was both more tubular and more gooey. Needless to say it was good to see protean shapes of otter poop, that is to say, my imagination was fired into wondering what the otters had been eating.

Alas, deciphering otter scat is a skill I never acquired. The stringy stuff suggests small fish to me, and gray gobies, and the goo I associate with the soft part of frogs. Many bullfrogs will crawl up out of this bay soon. But I am completely guessing. I took a photo looking back at the latrine and I am probably the only person who could look at those scattered leaves and get the impression that otters had been there.

Often late in the thaw otters will break through the rotting ice leaving round holes in it. There were some holes right at the edge but otters had plenty of open water to swim along the shore.

Leslie long ago gave up looking at otter scats and when I check that latrine she goes up to the high rocks at the point affording a good view of the river and some beautiful pines seemingly growing out of the rocks. Unfortunately the wind was too hard for clinking ice. The noise of the wind and waves drowned out any clinking. The edge of the ice pack was quite broken so there was no way to see if the otters had dined on fish on the edge of the ice.

A porcupine had been up in the pine and fortunately seemed restrained in its gnawing. There was also a thick mast of pine cones.

I headed up to Audubon Pond where a few weeks ago I had seen much new beaver work and seeing it in a snow squall, it was hard to tell how fresh it was. Today I saw that it all looked old enough to only be evidence of what the beaver ate in the fall before the pond iced over. That the gnawing didn’t have the juiciness and shine of fresh work did not diminish its sculptural intrigue. It looked as if a beaver had merged with the base of the ash it had been gnawing, though its tail got a bit lopped off.

Meanwhile there were no signs that any beavers had come out from under the ice. There could still be beavers under there but they usually show themselves by this time of year. It has been a cold spring but there is open water along the north shore of the pond.

Then I hiked over to the East Trail Pond and since the last beaver activity I saw was along the East Trail on the ridge north of the pond, I simply stayed on the trail around the pond. Up on the plateau I saw that the larger red oak that the beaver had been cutting was still standing, but a smaller tree, probably a red oak, closer to the Shangri-la Pond side of the valley had been cut and taken away.

I checked the cut pine. When I was last here, two branches had been trimmed off it and taken down to the pond. I saw today that a few more branches had been cut.

It was evident that a beaver keeps gnawing in the cut of the large red oak on the edge of the slope. I happened to take a photo at an angle that shows an old half girdle on a tree about the same size. That looked like ash bark to me.

I can never predict if and when the beavers will cut down a tree, but obviously they are more persistent with this tree than they were with the neighboring ash. Of the many pines the beavers cut, the one that was easiest for the beavers to deal with was one that flipped down on the ice below. The beavers immediately cut off branches and after I saw that I speculated that the beavers were using the boughs as bedding and nothing else. Then I saw the stripped pine branches beside the beavers’ hole in the ice. I had seen other beavers in other ponds in different seasons completely stripping the bark off pine trunks about the same size. Today I saw that these beavers completely stripped the bark off this pine trunk.

The only open water in the pond is along the north shore, especially where the beavers had made holes in the ice for winter foraging. The ice behind the dam was flooded over with melt water which almost reached the big lodge in the middle of the dam.

Using the zoom lens on the camcorder I could get a better view of that. I could just make out a stripped log sticking out of the ice roughly at what might be end of a cache pile.

Taking an even closer look at and around the lodge, I could see branches sticking up in the air but can’t be sure if those were branches the beavers sunk or simply sapling growing next to the lodge. I didn’t see any more sticks or logs that looked freshly stripped.

Caches that beavers collect in the fall, aren’t necessarily food for the long winter. If the beavers find other food during the winter, they might not eat out of the cache until the spring. Of course, maybe the beavers didn’t stay in the lodge. I think they did because the new lodge they were building just off the north shore didn’t grow much after we left for four months in mid-September, and today it shows no signs of life either.

The best that can be said for it, is that it is near where the beavers did winter foraging and where they continue to forage. The open water along the north shore widens as it get near the dam.

The photo above doesn’t quite show it, but the beavers have been gnawing the bark on the large trunk that fell straight out into the pond. They’ve also been gnawing on the base of the trunk of a huge maple that is still standing. However, the greatest concentration of stripped sticks continues to be where the beavers have had a hole in the ice the last two winters.

The high rock and the surrounding shrubs must give the beavers a sense of protection even when the ice melts. I saw that the beavers continue to come up the easy dirt slope of the far east end of the rock that forms the huge ridge. Now they are not just going up to an old red oak trunk to gnaw, they are digging into the soft dirt -- the only soft dirt around here, I assume, finding roots to eat.

I’ve noticed that beavers, like many other animals especially deer, do this at this time of year. I should add that one of the beavers in the family had a fancy for acorns. I saw it eat them in the fall several years ago. This soft dirt was under what was once quite a large red oak, not that I want to suggest that a hungry beaver can steal from the squirrels.

March 30 we went to our land on a comfortable sunny afternoon. I walked down to check on the Deep Pond and saw that a beaver was out nibbling behind the dam. I could see it easily while I stood on the road and took a photo.

We worry at this time of year that it is too easy to see what is happening in this pond. The story about the two otters the brother of a neighbor saw in this pond during the winter continued. Another brother shot and killed one of the otters. The poor beavers here might prove an irresistible target. I moved down off the road and while I think the beaver noticed, it did not seem to mind. This is the tamer beaver. It swam over to a small clump of vegetation west of the dam, seemed to cut something too small for me to see and took it back to the dam to nibble. I tried to get closer to the action and shortly it swam back to the larder, so to speak, but this time, instead of cutting a slender stalk, it ducked its head in the water and seemed to get something to eat there. Then it moved over a few feet where the water appeared deeper and wallowed head down making the water muddy and appearing to find more to eat.

Then it did something I don’t recall seeing a beaver do before. It swam over to the dam, started digging and gnawing into it

and eventually extracted a gob of roots and dirt, took that a few feet out into the water, turning its back on the dam, and munched the roots it had dug out.

It looked like the beavers or beaver had added a pat of mud to the top of the dam so obviously it can patch what it eats out of the dam.

While it was good to see the beaver, I began to feel a bit silly simply staring at it, while it seemed oblivious to me. Also Ottoleo had hiked down to see the pond was standing on the other side at a lost as to what to do. He didn’t want to move too much and scare the beaver. There was a chair near to where I was standing and I got over to that without alarming the beaver but when I sat in the chair, a metallic creak brought the beaver back to its senses, so to speak. It stopped chewing and swam slowly over to the dam -- looking a bit aimless and then it dove and swam under the ice. Ottoleo called over for instructions and I told him to try to tell if the beaver swam under the ice below where he was standing and into the burrow. Instead the beaver emerged in the open water where the inlet creek drains into the pond. As it surfaced, a crisscross of stripped sticks and other debris that had been floating in the water adhered to its back.

The beaver looked rather comical but seemed to have no inclination to get the flotsam and jetsam off its back. It swam slowly up the inlet, nuzzled something along the way and swam back. Then it swam up the inlet again, out of my view, and when it returned had lost most of the sticks. It swam to the end of the open ice, nibbled on something, then dove. Ottoleo was standing rather near to it.

We didn’t wait for it to surface again because Ottoleo saw that someone had set a series of four traps in the inlet creek. So I hurried over and watched Ottoleo, who had muck boots on and could wade into the water, remove the traps. He reset the crossed sticks of the trap on our property so I could get a photo.

Ottoleo had seen the beaver swim quietly beside each of the crossed sticks and you can see the beaver swim beside the first trap in the video. Needless to say this was both upsetting and exhilarating. We had possibly saved the beaver’s life, for the moment. Ottoleo saw a name on one of the traps, which a trapper is legally obliged to have. Meanwhile Leslie and Marlee had come down to the dam and muted their questions because the beaver had surfaced right in front of them. When we joined them, the beaver finally disappeared. Unfortunately, in New York trapping is not only legal but encouraged by state officials, including all the state’s wildlife biologists. The local media applauds it and most people who live in the area support it. The best that can be said about the situation is that deer and duck hunting is far more popular and noisy. Beavers are also relatively safer because traps must be set in difficult terrain and monitored during some harsh weather. If an area is not ATV accessible, it’s likely to be free of traps. We have been gratified that no one tried to trap on our land before, but this year pelt prices are up. Anyway, the trapper turned out to be a 14 year old boy, scion of one of the richest families in the area. He thought our land was our neighbor’s and our neighbor said he could trap. That’s probably a lie. All trappers lie and I lie right back at them. We gave him back his traps and he promised not to set them again. Beaver trapping season ends April 7. But I am afraid the traps are half the problem. The dam is fully visible from the road and there is no telling how inspiring the gossip that someone shot an otter will be to the murderous breed we live among. The snow continues to disappear and on the 31st I walked along the high east slope of the pond and saw the stump of a large ironwood that the beavers evidently cut up and took to the pond, because I couldn’t find the trunk.

More interesting was the number of small nannyberries that the beaver cut and removed. Beavers generally don’t clear cut like that.

These were mostly cut, I am pretty sure, before the snow began mounting. These beavers have never ventured far to cut anything. The plump beaver who I’ve seen eating lily roots for two summers never seemed to have any interest in eating bark. I suspect that the beavers are staying in the burrow in the nearby high bank. The snow has melted off where the hot breathing of the beavers may have vented and I did see bubbles under the ice where the beavers would swam in and out of the burrow.

Maybe I’ll soon be able to figure it out, if the beavers survive the efforts to kill them.

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