2005 Notes From The Beaver Pond
February 2005 My first visit to the Beaver pond for the new year turned out to be very rewarding. For February the weather was very nice, it is supposed to warm up to be a light jacket day and I was anxious to spend some time at the pond. As I sit at one of my spots hidden within some natural cover, a position that allowed me a view west toward the Beaver dam, which was about a hundred yards away, and across from the Beaver lodge only a couple hundred feet away I was enjoying the morning while staying alert.
Looking down toward the dam I see this very large bird come walking out from the north side of the pond into view and I thought what the hell is that, it looked very large compared to the Great Blue Herons which is the largest bird that I have seen at the pond. I pulled my camera up so I could get a better look through the 400 mm lens, and I'll be darned if it wasn't a Sand hill crane, this is a first for me at the pond. I snapped some pictures even though it was to far away just for the record.
As time went by I was fumbling with my camera when something caught my eye to the right of where I sit, it was a Coyote standing parallel to the pond right across from my location facing the Beaver lodge, I raised my camera and snapped a picture and as soon as I clicked the shutter the Coyote looked my direction but didn't see me, but he still seemed nervous as the Coyotes often do, I watched as he zigzagged up through the woods and out of site and I thought well that was that he's gone.
Again fumbling with my camera I glanced up and was amazed to see the Coyote standing atop the Beaver lodge right out in open view, I quickly raised my camera framed the shot and fired, repeating the process four or five times while he snooped over the lodge and then he vanished again up into the woods.
March 2005 I am heading out to the woods at dawn this morning, it is early spring and the temperatures are still in the 20's, wish it was more like the 40's but cold or not the pull to get into a hide with camera and tripod is much to strong. I will be going to the beaver pond which is one of my favorite places to be at this time of year the weeds are still down and it is a good place to see those migrants that are on their way north to the breeding grounds.
So far at the pond this year I have seen Sand Hill crane, Common Merganser, Ring Necked, Northern Shoveler, and Golden eye duck, these are some of the temporary visitors to the beaver pond that will spend a short time resting, feeding and waiting for the weather changes. I have also seen others that will remain and breed in this area, Wood duck, Mallards, King fishers, Great Blue Herons, and of course all of the locals like Coyote, Beaver, Muskrat, Mink, and White tail deer.
As I sit in my hide watching the pond began to glow from the early morning sun, the sounds of the many birds in bush and tree is the music that excites my imagination and keeps me alert with my camera and ready for that opportunity to get a picture, but I do wish it would warm up.
March 20th 2005 It's Saturday morning and I got to the pond before 6:00 am it rained last night which is good it allows me to move through the woods very quietly. Working my way through the woods towards the area where I had planned to sit I could see the pond through the trees ahead and some ducks on the water , swimming away are a pair of Northern Shovers’ and I can also see the white heads of a group of Hooded Mergansers.
I decide to go down a little farther with hopes that I wouldn't scare them off. Once I reached the spot where I will sit I quietly waited till the Shovers’ passed by before I moved in and setup my stuff. After about an hour the clouds thin out and I get some clear sky and sun for a few hours before it clouds up again, that was nice to have a little sun because it was supposed to be totally cloudy today.
I stayed at the pond till about 12:30 PM and was able to get some shots of the Hooded Mergansers and a Northern Shoveler, I also seen a Blue Winded Teal, and a pair of Bucks still with racks. There were Wood ducks in and out of the pond all morning, and the Great Blue Herons were very active.
March 27, 2005 I was up at 3:30 am this morning and in the woods before 6:00 am. The weather was a little warmer this week and there was a heavy fog, I stayed at the pond till about 11:30 am and even though I didn't have any wildlife come very close within my camera range I did see a lot of activity. The muskrats were busy as usual working back an forth from shore to shore feeding.
An Osprey flew over and I usually only see them along the river. I saw a group of wood ducks with a blue wing teal staying within the group. Again this week I got the rare treat to see a couple of Northern Shovers’ working the shallows.
Two big tom turkeys flew a short hop across the creek and disappeared into the thick undercover. The Kingfishers were active near where I sit and it looked like for them the fishing was good. Not a lot of photos but it was a very nice morning to spend at the pond.
April 3, 2005 I got to the pond a little after noon today, I don't want to be in the woods till afternoon for the next month because of the turkey hunting season, but what a beautiful day, very warm in the 60's and the sun is shining.
When I approached the pond today I saw ducks on the water so I snuck in and found a spot without being detected. There were Blue-winged Teal feeding close by and Wood duck, Mallards, and geese down a ways.
I observed many muskrats swimming in the pond diving and bringing mud up from the bottom for their dens. The painted turtles were on logs sunning themselves, and the frogs were singing their early spring songs.
At one point the Wood ducks and Teal that were feeding down about a hundred yards from me became very vocal and a few took to wing for a short distance moving away from the bank.
As I turned my attention towards them to see what the fuss was I saw their problem running down a fell tree that lay from the bank out into the water, it was a Mink and he had something in his mouth, probably a frog, the ducks kept their distance for a while and grouped up and watched the bank in the direction the Mink took his meal
April 10, 2005 I arrived at the pond at a little after noon today after driving from southern Illinois this morning. It was very warm and partly sunny and I was anxious to get some blind time. As I got close to the pond I could see wood ducks and blue wing teal swimming in the area I planned to setup so I had to wait till they moved on till I went in closer.
A pair of Canada geese have setup a nest on the top of a small beaver lodge down close to the large beaver lodge where the female was sitting on eggs and the male was patrolling the pond. The King fishers are nosily catching fish and the turtles are sunning on logs.
The great blue herons fly up and down the length of the pond looking like some great prehistoric bird while making their gravel sounds. I saw the Teal group up in the middle of the pond down a ways so I new they were worried about something, I grabbed my binoculars and saw a large hawk fly up into the tree tops but he didn't stay long.
A pair of Osprey showed up and one had a fish and landed in a large tree while the other made a few passes and then also landed in the same tree and waited while the first one ate the fish, they stayed for about ten minutes and then left. I stayed till about 6:00 and then I made my exit.
April 16, 2005 I got to the pond at 12:30 today and the growth in the woods is rapid now with the warm weather, the bluebells are in bloom and the forest floor in turning into a carpet of color. There was not a lot of activity on the pond today it is very warm and seems like a lazy summer day even though it is spring, the great blue herons are fishing and the muskrats continue their busy activities.
There were a pair of Blue winged teal on the pond, and three male wood ducks down by the Canada goose nesting on the small beaver lodge. The gander got very upset a few times when the herons landed on the bank to close to the nest and chased them off. The frogs are getting more vocal and the turtles are are taking advantage of the warm sunshine. I stayed till 6:00 till the warm glow of the afternoon sun faded.
April 25, 2005 The walk to the pond through the woods was very pleasant with the blue bells in bloom and sun shining bright. Wood ducks and Blue winged teal were the busy ones on the pond today working the shallows along the shore feeding. A lone female Hooded Merganser was hanging out with a male Wood duck.
The female Canada goose continues to sit on her eggs atop the small beaver lodge, a crocking Great Blue Heron came gliding in to close to the nest and the male came a running and flapping across the water and chased the big guy off.
The temperature is in the low fifties and feels pretty good after the sub freezing temperatures and winter like weather conditions we have had for the last few days even though the winds was steady with gusts of 35 mile per hour. Red tail hawks were in the area and being very vocal, the Wood ducks would tilt their heads to look up when these guys were passing over.
Away from the pond on the river this morning some Canada geese nests where damaged from the high water leaving eggs scattered and partially submerged, it was a sad thing to see the parents standing in the shallow water by their destroyed nest.
May 1, 2005 Went out to the pond early today taking a chance and hoping there wasn't any turkey hunters in the area, if I would have seen cars parked in any of the parking areas I wouldn't have went in, but all was clear.
When I got down by the pond a beaver was swimming making his rounds before retiring to his lodge for the day, of course slapping his tail on the water a few times letting me know he new I was there. The mother goose was still setting on her nest and I know she hasn't eaten and has had very little water for these weeks she has spent on the nest and I find it amazing to see what she goes through to incubate those eggs, not to take anything away from her partner who closely watches out for her well-being and never venturing to far through this whole ordeal.
An Osprey came flying by the nest about forty feet off the water and that gander shot almost straight up towards the Osprey with a great commotion to let him know he was not welcome, a fish hawk(Osprey) is just another hawk to a goose, get to close the his nest and his mate and he will let you know.
There were many swallows flying back and forth across the water feeding in the strong winds with a few resting occasionally on a downed tree that was laying out in the water to my left. There were only a few pair of wood ducks on the pond today and of course the Great Blue Herons are always a show.
May 7, 2005 There are babies on the pond, a mother Wood duck with two little chicks swam by and the mother Goose who has been on a nest for weeks has some little ones now. I noticed her standing up periodically as if she was allowing air to flow beneath her and that is when I saw the little yellow heads popping up from the nest.
She still has a few eggs in the nest, because I could see her turning them, but by this next weekend they should all be ready to leave the nest. There were as least five Great Blue Herons on the pond today fishing and resting in the warm spring sunshine. There were some very large snapping turtles sunning on logs today plus many painted turtles.