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.