Monday, June 15, 2015

Leave It To Beavers

We've had some pretty spectacular downpours so far this summer. 

It's slowed our progress of cleaning up the fireplace area somewhat, but we've entered a relatively dry period now.  The wood is drying and will soon be able to be cut and burned.

The nice thing, though, is that Todd and I have been able to spend some time there, playing Scrabble or chit-chatting after supper.  It was on one of those days when I discovered...we have beavers.

Two adults have set up shop across the pond.  I rarely see the female, but every single day at dusk, rain or shine, the male is out.  He stations himself at the foot of a downed tree and is very busy there, doing something.  He's an amazingly large beaver and we've named him Augustus, a fitting name for such a majestic creature.  Did you know that adult beavers can weigh as much as 60 pounds? 

He works busily at his log for a while, swims a few leisurely laps, and repeats.  Sometimes I'll startle him, and he slaps his tail loudly on the water's surface and dives.  But he's a pretty laid-back beaver.  It isn't long before he returns to work.

Last week, I saw a little one next to him.

That's right...our beavers have babies!  I've only seen two so far, and again, there's one that's much more visible than the other.  I've named her Pepita.

She's very shy, but also very inquisitive.  I just love watching their little faces!

We've discovered other creatures down there, too.  Barred owls have long been making their presence known here, with their "Who cooks for you?" calls.  But they're rarely seen.  However, we have a nesting pair with a fledgling that we've started seeing almost every night!  They've flown right at us and perched above our heads on low-hanging branches.  They seem awfully brazen, and we've hesitated to approach them!  The juvenile is the talker.  I usually hear him first with his loud begging call.  The parents aren't far behind...flapping from branch to branch, perching on fences and posts, and sometimes landing in the yard and surveying the landscape that way.  So many great opportunities, and I've never had my big camera with me when they've been out.  I've gotten a few blurry pictures through glass, though:

The crazy thing is that these big, powerful birds have a much smaller predator:  a mob of crows.  An owl can kill a single crow easily, but just like the case with zombies: one alone isn't an issue, but a big, worked-up group of crows is another story. We have a pair of crows that have claimed our yard as their territory.

They harass hawks during the day and owls in the early evening.  I've seen them chase an owl from tree to tree, then over the pond, until he was out of their territory!  It's pretty remarkable. 

Speaking of remarkable, and birds...Little Miss has hatched an egg.

I wasn't sure at first, but the other egg is still there.  It just hasn't hatched yet.

Hopefully it will hatch soon!

Meanwhile, our more familiar animals have been enjoying themselves at our rodent-proof feeders...ahem...

...and there's plenty of feline relaxation going on in the shade!

Hope you're keeping cool, too, in this hot weather.  Have a great week!

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