Sunday, 28 March 2010

British Summer Time

Yesterday was the day when turning off electric lights happens for an hour. In our case we forgot. Luckily for our reputation, however, Morgan reminded us that we had told him to turn his lights off this time last year and here he was to keep us right this year. He bustled up to our kitchen with an iron candelabra, so there was nothing for it but to offer him and Barbara a drink.

Morgan was full of advice, not least his regret at the apparent demise of my blog. As I was concentrating on cooking at the time much of this flew over my head, but the dart about the end of the Bamff beaver blog stung me into action.

Now that we are past the Solstice and British Summer Time is back, the evenings are longer and the beavers are more easily seen. Here are a couple of photographs I took with my compact digital camera looking through a telescope. Digiscoping is the name of the game so, as I become more familiar with the telescope, I expect to do more photography this way. Its great merit seems to me that you don't have to get so close to the animal you want to photograph and run the risk of disturbing it.

I set off far too early with a folding chair as well as telescope, camera and binoculars, and sat for two hours before the beavers emerged from their lodge - the first lodge they built in the Big Pond. The evening before I walked round the pond and saw a pair of teal. This evening there were water hens, little grebes and mallards. I saw a trout jump. The evening before, during my circumambulation, I saw the tumult of frogs and toads copulating in the shallow waters.

I saw three beavers at the lodge they built in the autumn of 2002. Two were dark and there was a paler one. Perhaps the two black beavers were the original sisters from Poland that came to us in July of that year? They worked away at the bark of the birch they had felled, but the brown animal took to the water and swam over towards me. 'Ha!' I thought, 'It has smelt me and is coming over to have a look.' And so it was. I could see its nostrils flaring and, in due course it slapped its tail. The beavers at the lodge disappeared and the brown beaver slapped its tail again. It lay off shore, waiting for me to pick up my kit and leave, and had the grace not to humiliate me any more as I headed away from the pond through the darkening spruce wood.

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