Sunday, 27 November 2011

On the 22nd of this month, taking advantage of a sunny day between the days of mist and rain, I walked out to the Wet Wood and found that the Long Dam had been breached.

Here is the breach

And here is the pool upstream of the dam. 

Today I visited the Wet Wood again. A heron lifted off as I approached and a flock of mallard rose noisily and flew away. I found that the breach had been fully repaired and the water level of the pool was as high as ever. Why had the beavers breached the dam?

I remember seeing a new lodge on the banks of the main ditch and think that the rainfall of some days and nights before the 22nd had flooded the new lodge. I guess that the beavers have now built a new chamber in their lodge, higher than the earlier one. This is just supposition. I must go out again and look for the lodge.

Here is a view of the pool from the downstream side of the dam.

The main canal has developed considerably. It is interesting to note the scouring out of channels. First, the bottoms of the canals and overflow channels are of mud. Then, the mud is scoured away and one sees a gravelly bed appearing.  

 The lodge has been cemented with mud, ready for the winter.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

At last, a couple of clips with the trail camera: in this one a beaver is caught dragging a branch of aspen away from the now cut over clump.

Here are some stumps from the reduced grove of trees.

And here is the small pond across which the trunks and branches of the aspen have been floated to be stored in the pond with the lodge downstream. Before they reach their destination the timber will have to be steered down the canal the beavers have dug between the little pond and the dammed pool that lies upstream of the Lodge Pond.

Returning to the Burnieshed Burn east of the drive, here are the makings of a cache of birch branches for the winter. At least, that is what it looks like to me.

Here are three newish dams. The nearest one dates from late summer, I think. The next dam above began to be built early this autumn and the one furthest upstream in the photograph, and visible only as a white splash, was started about a month ago.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Trout or Salmon?

Walking back along the burn after an unsuccessful search for a lost knife, I saw a fish jumping about on the bank, just below the Third Dam. I closed with it and managed to take a photograph, the second lower down. I tried to get a hold of the fish, but eventually it slid out of my hands and escaped into the meshwork of the dam, to find its way into the water downstream.

Here is that first fish.

As I grappled with the fish, which I took to be a young trout of a fair size, I realised that it was not alone. There seemed to be three others lying in the shallow water that ran dry just beyond where they lay.

Beyond the group of three there lay a dead fish. This is it with my Leatherman Utility Tool to give an idea of scale (about 20 cm/ 8 inches). The first fish I photographed was considerably longer.

Later, when I looked at pictures in Peter Maitland and Keith Linsell's 'Guide to Freshwater Fish of Britain and Europe' I wondered if this was a salmon parr that was undergoing smoltification.

As I had left the dead fish on the bank of the burn I hurried back to find it and put it in our deepfreeze so that it could be examined. At the dam, I found another live fish and photographed it.

Here it is again. Trout or salmon parr?

The fish were lying in the water just to the left of the dead fish and the Leatherman tool. They seem to have swum from the pool upstream, over the overflow in the dam towards the top of the picture and got stuck when they ran out of water. If they had tried the other two overflows they would have found their way downstream safely.