When a beaver fells a tree a diversity in nature will emerge, but when man fells a tree not much good will come of it.

-Soper

 

Beaver Pond

2007 Notes From The Beaver Pond

January 20, 2007 My first visit to the Beaver pond for the new year was a cold one. I arrived at the pond at 7:00 am, the temperature was 15 and the pond was mostly froze over with a little open water at the west end by the dam and also some small spots that the Beavers keep open along the north bank. I really have to say there was not much happening, there were however three Beavers swimming together that I had seen early and then few hours later I watched them as they disappeared under the ice near the lodge. There was a pair of Gadwall's swimming the open water by the dam and a short visit from a Great Blue Heron that hunkered down on the bank with little movement on this cold morning. I also watched a lone beaver on a log with his back to me the whole time feeding for about ten minutes before he also headed for the lodge. Directly across from me was a Mink the was busy hunting along the bank and occasionally he would have something in his mouth and he would hurry back to the bank out of site, I would assume to his den. I left about 10:00 the low temp had got the best of me and my camera, these temps were just to much for the camera batteries, and I think I was being drained too.
 
 January 24, 2007 I arrived at the pond before 7:00 am this morning with a temp of 24 that was a big improvement from Saturdays 15 degrees. The snow from Sunday made the woods beautiful and allowed me to see many tracks as I made my way to the pond, coyote tracks went in every direction. I noticed the open water near the dam was now expanding although the pond still was mostly froze over with large patches of snow in places. About ten Canada geese flew over and landed in the open water by the dam and spent a good hour before I heard the familiar excited call they do before they fly. I noticed a mink running along the opposite bank and later back the same direction this time through the woods. The beaver were feeding in the open water near their lodge for a while this morning before heading for their home to sleep. The sun did finely come out for a bit and hundreds of Canada geese flew low across the pond as they were heading towards the river.

 March 10, 2007 Finally we have some better weather, warmer that is. I got to the pond a 6:00 am, the Kankakee river valley was fogged in but the sun is supposed to shine. As I moved through the woods working my way to the pond I could see that the pond was still mostly froze over, there was open water at the west end near the beaver dam and I could see and hear Canada geese raising heck in the cool dim, gray fog, I could also see that there were about 15 ring neck ducks floating about near the ice. I quietly moved in as close as I dare and began my wait. For the first three hours I had little hope of any shots as the fog would roll in and then thin a bit and then get thick again, this went on till about 9:30 when finally the sun poked through and the fog lifted. More geese would fly in and they would chase each other with wings flapping and loud growling till they all left the water for other parts. There were also four green winged teal there but were gone after the fog lifted., The ring necks were there till I left at 12:30, also a pair of Lesser Scaup flew in and did some feeding with the ring neck about an hour before I left. Wood ducks flew in and out in groups of at least ten, also four female hooded mergansers were feeding in the open water.

 March 17, 2007 Arrived at the pond at 6:30 am this morning and could see ducks on the water as I made my way to the edge. I setup in the same place as last time and waited for the sun to come up. The pond had at least 200 ducks and that is more than I had ever seen at one time, there was Ring necked ducks to the east with Lesser scuap mixed in. There were also large groups of Wood duck looking for nesting trees. Hooded mergansers were swimming up and down past me and also a lone Green winged teal. A pair of Canada geese were keeping other Geese off the pond and also defending the top of the Beaver lodge were they will probably make there nest. Even though the sun was out and the temp was in the 30's I got kind of cold and only stayed till about 10:30, it was a good day.

 March 18, 2007 The sun about beat me to the pond this morning, I got down to the pond's edge about 6:45 am and saw Ring necked ducks move away down the pond to the east. A low fog formed over the pond as the sun was coming up and I could see many ducks diving and spashing in that early morning soup, back light with the rising sun. There were about the same mix of water fowl as yesterday, just not as many, but still quite a few. There is nothing like spring on the pond it is so alive, the Wood ducks flying in and out of the woods landing in the tree as if they are playing follow the leader. A noisy King fisher showed up and was there fishing most of the morning disappearing for a while but always returning with her rattling songs. A late morning Beaver headed toward his lodge and did some tail slapping before going home. I packed it in by 11:00 it was great.

 March 25, 2007 Oh boy a real spring morning at the pond, It sure was nice going off to the woods with only a light jacket. I got to the pond a little before 7:00 am and the Ring necked ducks feeding on the pond scattered to the east but not to far though they never came back my way. Woods ducks flew in and then up into the woods landing up in the branches and flying from tree to tree. A pair of Kingfishers did come my way a male and a female were rattling as they fished along the pond. A male Hooded Merganser swam with three females and they disappeared down a channel on the north side of the Beaver dam. When I first arrived and setup a Beaver was swimming back and forth in front of me and didn't seem very happy with me there at the edge of the pond but it finely went off probably to the lodge for the day. Many turtles were coming out of the water on anything they could to warm in the sun, the logs and muskrat dens were covered with brightly colored pond turtles. The frogs were jumping and feeding in the shallows. I pack it up around 12:30, what a morning.

 March 31, 2007 Arrived at the pond at 6:30 am this morning with not much of a prospect of sunshine and a good chance of rain and temps in the low fifties. While making my approach to the pond I saw a pair of Ring necked duck swimming and as I moved closer they moved away. A Beaver was slapping its tail on the water while I was setting my equipment up, trying his best to scare me off. As soon as I sat down on my little stool behind my cover the rain came. Luckily I had my umbrella, the rain left for good after about 45 minutes and once and a while the thin clouds would let a bit of sun through. A pair of King fishers raised the excitement level up a few notches, unfortunately the light was not good this morning. A male Cardinal kept me entertained with his beautiful songs. The Wood ducks were flying from tree to tree in the woods behind me looking for a good hole to nest in. A pair of Blue winged teal flew in early and were feeding along the shore as three female Hooded mergansers swam by. The winds picked up for a bit giving me chill as I set at the edge of the damp woods under the gloomy gray clouds. The Ring necked ducks swam by allowing me a few shots. The Turkey vultures were circling over the pond as they followed the winds. Got out of the woods a little before noon.
 

April 22, 2007 It’s Turkey hunting season so I have to stay out of the woods until 1:00 pm for the next month, I know I will miss those early mornings at the pond. I made it down to the pond at a little past 1:00 today and the frogs with a load course were singing in the warm afternoon heat. The pair of Canada geese were down by the Beaver lodge, the female was on the nest and the male was patrolling. I did see around six Blue winged teal swimming down by the lodge when I 
first arrived but didn’t see them the rest of the day. A few male Wood ducks were in and out of the pond while I was there. A little Verio was in the branches near where I set, coming within six feet of me allowing me a good view while it was feeding from branch to branch. I thought the Male Canada goose was going to down a Great blue heron that came to close the nesting female, the feathers were flying and the heron had a hard time getting airborne but finely did. It was really a warm lazy day at the pond and I packed it in around 4:30.

April 28, 2007 Got to the pond today around 1:00, about 30 feet from where I planned to setup I came accross a nothern water snake coiled up next to a rotting log that I was about to cross. I noticed the Canada geese that had been nesting on the small Beaver lodge were down at one end of the pond and a large snapping turtle was sunning in the spot where the female had been setting on eggs for weeks, it wasn't till about an hour before I left that the geese came into view and I seen four little yellow youngsters swimming with them. The wind was steady and strong today making for not a great situation for using a long lens. I was watching the snapping turtle moving around and down towards the water on my side of the abanded nest through my lens and noticed two water snakes move out of his way as he neared the water. King fishers were in the area fishing and then landing in the trees near where I set.

April 29, 2007 Made it to the pond at little past 1:00 today and the pond really seems very quiet now that many of the ducks of moved on and the wood ducks are in there nests. I could see down towards the Beaver lodge that a large snapping turtle was on the top sunning it's self and lone coot was hanging around the lodge area. A Muskrat stopped on the log not far from me to feed on some fresh plants it brougt up from the bottem of the pond. A Great blue heron was having some good fishing down by the lodge while I observed through my lens. Turkey vultures sored above the tree tops around the pond throughout the day battling some very strong winds.

May 5, 2007 Arrived at the pond around 1:00 pm today after making my way through the kneehigh blue bells and ever growing forest greenery. There is lots of new fungus growing on the sides of stumps and logs giving an interesting and beautiful look with the yellowish tan colors contrasting with the vibrant green mosses on the large limestone outcropes. After being at the pond for about an hour I noticed movement down on the far side of the Beaver lodge it was a White tail deer coming to the waters edge for a drink and a taste of the pond vegetation it stayed for maybe 10 minute before disapering back into the woods. A Wood duck was on the far side of the pond with her 12 little ones resting on a log, they swam by through the pond grasses about 15 minutes later and I didn't see them again till a little before I was going leave. The Bank swallows were fighting the winds and resting in the dead trees in the pond. A pair of Greatblue herons were fishing down towards the lodge while I was there. The beutiful songs of the Orioles could be heard the whole time I was there. A female Kingfisher made a few appearances. I packed up at about 5:15 but stopped to look at the flowering Mayapples and some Jack in the pulpets near where I had been setting before heading out of the woods.
 

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