Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Visit to the Wet Wood

Since I last posted the beavers have been busy with the aspen. When Kevin Jones was working on his PhD thesis he counted about 75 stems of aspen, the suckers of the original 12 trees that were planted in 1992. 

All but 18 had been cut when I took these photographs on the 26th September 2011.

For the most part the stems had been dragged away, but a few had been left.

This is the path that leads from the aspen clump to the western pond in the Wet Wood. It is along this path that the beavers have dragged the felled aspen stems to the pond. One stem has been discarded.

Debouching from the small pond is a canal which is punctuated by, a series of little dams that serve as locks. This dam, however, has been extended to make a pool.

Here, you see the canal as it flows towards the pond that lies next to the pond excavated by John Lister-Kaye in September 2001.

This photograph shows the newly extended northern end of what we may call the Long Pond. With its new extension this dam is around 110 metres long. Is this a record for the British Isles?

New coppice growth from grey willow in the Wet Wood.

Here is a reminder of the vigorous activity of the beavers of the Wet Wood

And here we are back at the aspen grove. Let us look forward to the suckering next spring!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I forgot to mention that the beavers have returned to fell the aspen clones they last (and first) felled in the autumn of 2002. No aspen were touched by beavers during the last nine years, but now they are back, cutting, dragging away and consuming.

Presumably the quantities of bitter chemicals in the bark that deterred felling and browsing have declined and aspen bark and leaves are good to eat again.

Cut stems in the group.

The path from the aspen clump to the little pond in the Wet Wood.

More of the path.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Nearly a month since my last post. How can this be? Not for loss of interest, that's for sure. August is a month for visitors and so, I suppose, it is less easy to catch photographs of the beavers themselves.

Here are photographs of Owen and Sharon Brown from Beavers, Wetlands and Wildlife in New York State. We were delighted to have a visit from them and to learn a little of their long experience with beavers in the USA.

Now, however, we are into September and autumn is with us. This is the time of year when beavers prepare for winter and are working on dams and lodges. It would be nice to think that autumn was not just yet, but outside I hear the tail end of hurricane Katia blowing itself out on the western shores of Eurasia and am convinced that this is autumn.

If this is autumn, where was summer?

 This is one of the newest dams along the Burnieshed burn. It has a surprising amount of stonework in  one part of it. For a while I wondered if the dam was the construction of Chris Schiffer and his friends and had been built as a cooler for beer, but as time went by, and as the work developed, I saw that this was all the work of the beavers.

I was pleased to catch an unintended shot of this young roe buck in my trail camera: the instrument had toppled over on its support and photographed upside down, the opposite direction from that intended.