Thursday, 30 June 2011

Dams and Pipes

The new dams by the drive have been creeping up and with the rains of last week, the beavers felt obliged to raise them still further. They have crowned this dam with rhododendron, brought down from the bushes upstream. 

The height of the water level upstream began, however, began to present a potential problem for the drive. We do not want the drive to become a water course and, by means of cuts in the side of the drive have been carrying out work, familiar to anyone who maintains roads, of taking the water off the road as soon as possible.

Therefore, we have taken this opportunity to instal a pipe through the dam. The perforated polythene pipe is fixed at both ends and wire mesh covers the upstream end to prevent beavers blocking it.

Paul Scott and Alan Ross came here last Saturday to carry out this work. So far it has proved completely successful and the water level of the stream upstream of this dam has been reduced by about 4 inches (100 mm) as you see from the tide mark in the photo.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Contrary to what I wrote yesterday, this is surely the same doe as figured in the other photograph, but taken at a different time and day. What I took to be the antlers must be a combination of the ears and some grass stems.

Some pupils from the New School at Butterstone came to watch beavers with me earlier this week. One of them wondered what he might see at close quarters and found this invertebrate drama in progress. A spider is stalking a fly. I put my iPhone to the eyepiece and this was the result.

Walking round the Wet Wood recently I noticed this and wondered what it was: a gall of some kind, or a chrysalis? 

showed a nice photograph of what I had seen: Dasineura urticae, a very common gall of nettles - beautiful, all the same.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wildlife along the Bamff Drive

The sequences of film in Springwatch that showed beavers cutting trees and swimming down canals of their own digging made me think it was time to put out my own trail camera, so I did: and this is what I found on the memory card after a week.

Someone with a sieve. Was she looking for tadpoles?

A young roe doe going for a drink.

Wild boarlets, having passed through the stock mesh that detains their parents, on the rake.

And wild boys.

Where were the beavers? By mistake I had not set the machine to work at night.

Rich brown waters - there was heavy rain yesterday evening and the beavers have been active, clarting the dam with mud.

This is the lower of this pair of dams. 

Up a nearby ditch there is another beginning.

This mud sculpture was very pleasing.

This time a roe buck goes for a drink.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

 Alan and Cyril came from Stirling University to take samples of the vegetation in the ponds. As one can see from the surviving exclosures the bog bean is less abundant than formerly, but where there are spaces in the bogbean, horsetail is growing. So, it seems, less biomass but greater biodiversity. 

I have learned since that horsetail (Equisetum spp.) has very extensive and deep growing rhizomes. These transfer nutrients from deep in the soil up into the plants themselves. Something interesting is going on here, I suspect.

Here is a sward of Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata).

I can only make out three beavers in this photograph, but there was another one close by.

This past weekend we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the return of beavers to the Tay.

There was a good turnout, but best of all was the number of children who came to see our displays.

Some of us canoed from Ballinluig to Dunkeld. 

This photograph shows some of our party before setting off for Dunkeld. Hugh Chalmers, who sighted a beaver in the River Earn ten years ago is in the middle of the picture, wearing a red life jacket.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Destructive Capability of Beavers...Unbelievable

I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK 
I've seen damage done by beavers in the past but this is the worst!!
 Beavers, left unattended, can clear a forest in no time..... 

This legend accompanied the above photograph that Aileen sent me. A friend of her father, Jim Broun, had sent it to him and he forwarded it on to Aileen. I expect it will get this blog identified as one that deals with 'adult' subjects.

Well, there you go! I thought this was a most entertaining photograph. I wonder where the event it depicts took place. I must say that I would not like to go a wooding with no clothes on: least of all when wielding a chain saw. Still, the picture is very lovely.

And now for something quite different! This and the photo below are of a couple of new dams. One, it is true, was begun last year, but left. With the onset of spring the beavers have come back to this work and have added to the dam begun last year and built this new one. It is, of course, work in progress.

As a matter of fact, this is the new one.

A little upstream this tributary ditch has a couple of tentative little plugs. Here 

and here.

I took a look at the dead trees on and behind the barrage that closes the big pond or lochan this morning. I wondered if any more had fallen during the windy weather last week.

Several have. Three stems have broken along the barrage now and some more in the ground below the barrage. More light is coming in and willow and birch are making a come back.

The swamp behind the barrage.