Monday, 20 September 2010

Memory Lane

Yesterday's post and the photograph of the sunken straining post made me think that I should look out the photographs that I took in 2001 and 2002.

So, here are a few.

John Lister-Kaye came to Bamff in September 2001 to dig a couple of ponds in the Wet Wood. Here he is, most of the digger out of sight. I thought I should have to call for a recovery vehicle, but he dug himself out.

This photo was taken a little earlier and John Lister-Kaye was driving this elderly Caterpillar.

In December 2001 Roy Dennis, accompanied by Allan and Heather Bantick came to build the artificial lodge that was to be our beavers' first home. Here is Roy building the bedroom of the beavers. This room was panelled with some old sarking from the roof of a farm building, but gave a very fine impression. In due course the beavers threw out the panelling.

Roy thought that the beavers would like a prefabricated wooden tunnel to gain access to their new home. However, the ungrateful beasts thought otherwise and made a new tunnel to bypass Roy's creation.

Here is the completed lodge. The bag hanging on a tree in the background contained some apples.

This is the view of the pond that John Lister-Kaye dug and the lodge that Roy Dennis built with the help of the Banticks.

And here is the pond from the west, the end of the lodge, taken in March 2002, I should think.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Upstream to the Wet Wood

Last Friday, I took a walk along the upper part of the Burnieshed Burn.

In the West Wards I saw that the beavers have stretched a small plug dam that they had added just downstream from the stone built dam with which Jim Duncan blocked the burn in 2002

This shows the dam in detail. Mud, reed canary grass stems and sticks are the materials the beavers have used.

The photo below shows the top of the straining post of a fence.

I must find photographs that I took eight years ago that included this old straining post  because the dam from which I took this photograph is well above the level of the post.

I wonder if the water level has been raised by as much as a metre?

Frustrated by the thought of having to hunt through CDs I took a photograph of the one photo that came to hand. I probably took the original picture during the winter of 2002/3 or 2003/4.

Dredging canals and other waterways is a part of the life of a beaver. Here, some dredging has been done and the spoil dumped on the canal's bank. Beavers have then walked about over the spoil and left their foot marks.
From the top of the dam that closes the larger of the two ponds in the Wet Wood. The crest of the dam is, as Bryony Coles has written, a fine causeway along which humans and others can walk. 
A chaos of cutting and coppice regrowth.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Walk around the Big Ponds

Another of these blustery, autumnal days: I walked round to the south side of the two ponds. Here is a small Norway spruce, felled by the beavers


This is rather curious. The stump is throwing out some coppice shoots, but nothing seems to be happening higher up.

A muddy patch, where beavers have been walking about. The webbed hind feet are very clear.

A fair number of the trees that have been cut around the ponds are hanging on their neighbours. The usual trick to solve the problem of the hanging tree is to try and cut it further up in the hope that this will release the rest of the tree. In this case the stem has come free of the stump, but is hanging anyway.

Or did the beaver start felling the tree lower down anyway and then change its mind and begin again higher up? What a lot of energy spent to little avail for the present. Some time soon, though, I guess that the part of the tree that is caught up will drop. Perhaps today's winds will be enough to shift it.

Looking north-east across the Curling Pond. the sedge is turning.

The lodge in the canal between the ponds.

I was delighted to see some of these fungi.

The view north-eastish across the Big Pond. Rafts of sedge in the foreground.

Another Norway spruce down! These trees, their roots drowned by the raised water level in the pond, have been dead for several years. From vertical Dead Wood, these trees are on the way to a change of status as horizontal Large Woody Debris.

Hugh Chalmers sent me a wonderful document, published by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, about woody debris in water courses. As he said, it might have been written by beavers.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

An autumnal walk in the Wet Wood

The first hints of frost have coloured the aspen in the Wet Wood.

This morning I saw migrating redwings passing through. They paused for a while in some trees near my house and then flew on.

The beavers have been having a go at this grey alder. The left trunk is snagged on another tree and I cannot remember what has happened to the right stem. Perhaps it will fall later without further intervention by the beavers?

Water levels are relatively low at present and the beaver have had to do some dredging in the canal that leads into the willow woodland. The tributary canal has been blocked with the spoil that they have taken from the main canal.

The planting spade is mine.