Monday, 31 May 2010

Ghost Spruces and a Dark Beaver

Yesterday evening a brisk wind blew from the north, so I took station on the southern banks of the Big Pond. After a while the wind became gusty as well as fresh and I realised that it was carrying my scent over the water in turbulent masses. In fact it was quite soon obvious that the couple of beavers that I saw were surprised by these wafts of human scent and splashed their tails and disappeared. 

The wind being chilly, I soon decided to leave but, as I walked past the row of dead Norway spruce that grew along the line of the barrage that retains the pond, I thought these ghosts would make a photograph.

These spruces were drowned by the raising of the level of the pond by the beavers. These days a forester would never be allowed to plant conifers so close to the waterside if he or she was hoping to get a grant for the project. In the 1950s, however, when so little was understood in Britain about the acidification of ground waters by the scavenging of pollutants from the air by conifers needles, it was quite permissible, even best practice, to plant them as close to the water's edge as possible.
Today the wind had turned to the South-East, so our Dutch visitors and I walked out to the Big Pond's northern shore, where the beavers gratified us all by appearing. By way of a change we walked back to the house by the Burnieshed path that is part of the Cateran Trail. 

I was delighted to see this dark beaver, sitting grazing on the opposite bank, just upstream of the lowest of the big dams. He or she went on grazing for a while, then raising itself up on its hind legs, sniffed the air, caught our scent and made a rush for the water.


  1. this blog is great, paul. quietly magisterial.

  2. Paul, thanks for continuing to post this beaver blog - I could add 'quietly authorative'. You are showing the (electronic) world how beavers can change riparian habitats in the farmed landscapes - quite astonishing, even though I thought I knew what they would do.

    The canoeing accounts are an inspiration too. (though at the moment the Tweed is very, very low - too low for open canoeing - and no chance of seeing a gnawed twig)

    Best Wishes