Monday, December 17, 2012


Photo's taken with 120 - 400 mm IS Sigma Tele

A reader said to try and be more diversified and get off the eagles for a while.  So, I found a coyote.  Today I found a beaver.  Folks - I'm running low on critters here on the ole mud hole.
Shade and I were easing up the edge of Muddy Creek looking for fishermen and counting eagles when I saw a streak on the water.  I figured it was a muskrat.  Closer inspection found it to be a beaver.  He was slowly paddling up the shoreline.  Beavers are difficult to find on this lake.  As a matter of fact - I can't remember ever seeing one here.  The chance to photograph one was right in front of me and we both were travelling the same direction.

I've often wondered how they get their tail into a position to smack the water when they sound the alarm they are well known for.  Here is how it's done.  See the nest shot.
He raises his tail by lifting his rear end high out of the water and raising his big, flat tail at the same time.  The wide tail ad-hears to the surface tension while the base of the tail lifts up with his rear end.  Then the surface tension is broken and the pan cake tail rises very high.  He then slams it down onto the surface making a thunderclap splash. Here's the neat thing.  When the tail slams down against the water - it gives lift to his rear which pushes his body under the surface quickly.  It's an opposite reaction of the force of the tail pushing on the water.  He doesn't have to make a conscious effort to dive or swim under the surface.  He is thrust down under the surface instantly.   That's why folks hear the splash and never see the critter that made it.  
See above:  The splash is present but the beaver is under the surface.  The water splash and droplets haven't even fallen back to the surface yet and the little critter has evaporated from sight.  

Every time I'd get too close for comfort - he would slam the water with his tail and disappear instantly.  Here he goes again.  Note the tail lifts exactly the same each time in preparation to slam it down onto the water.
The lifting of the tail and slamming the water is accomplished faster than the eye can follow.  Ka Splash!
Now then - here's what I personally think this splashing is about.  Everything you've read since a child says that Mr. Beaver splashes the water with his tail to warn of danger.  I don't buy it.  I've watched this beaver and one other  through binoculars while they both performed this action.  Two different beavers on two different lakes.  Remember my explanation of how the beaver uses his tail to dive.  I believe that the slamming of the tail against the water is a beaver's way of submerging quickly and nothing more.  I am certain they use their tails to push down against the water forcibly in order to take advantage of the reaction of the body to be instantly pushed downward and under the surface.  The splash is because he wants to submerge instantly as fast as possible.  He's panicked - stressed or feels threatened.  When alone, they will simply quietly submerge by swimming.  So, that's my theory. 

Here he goes again.  He's winding up to dive.

The little guy is really putting on a show.  He can leave the area any time he wants but I think he is curious to a certain extent but, nervous about getting too close.  

I took a few more shots before I moved on.  I don't stress animals.  I get out of their space when I sense their apprehension.  

Wow - he's winding up for a really big splash.  Yikes!

I have no clue where he went.  He disappeared.  That means he's getting stressed and hiding.  I left the area quickly after marking his location on the GPS.  I may want to say hello again sometime.

Shade was very tolerant of the beaver.  She never made a sound.  It was time for some shore time and it wouldn't hurt to take fifteen minutes and stretch our legs.
We'll just pull over there to this beautiful, green grassy shoreline.  Right - In my wildest dreams.  

Look at this miserable, wretched place!  It isn't even fit for a dog to walk on.  Birds won't even land on this shale.  They won't even alight long enough to crap on it.

After an entire summer working on this mud hole I still find humor in the statements I hear from folks who spent a million dollars for a house on the lake.  It's laughable!  I mean - look around.  Oh well!

We only found three fishermen all afternoon but there were a lot of eagles.  I'd like to know what the explanation is for their presence here on this mud hole.  

There was a package on the porch when I got home.  I let the dogs out and Happy and Shade sniffed the box to death.  Chestnut hound stood away - afraid of the big, brown box that wasn't there last time she came out of the house.  She's a trip!

Yum!  Dr. Foster's cookies.  A very good friend in Pennsylvania sent them to my girls.  They absolutely love them more than any other cookie I've gotten them.  Chestnut hound is still scared of the box.  Not for long though.  Once she knows what's inside she'll be all over it.  I've never seen a more apprehensive pup.  Sweet as sugar though and soft as cotton.
 Happy knows the score.  "Just give me a cookie and be quick about it."

 So, there you have it.  Another day down.  The beaver saved the day as there wasn't anything else available to photograph.  It rained fairly hard every fifteen minutes and began to get colder as the afternoon wore on.  Every day is a good one, however.  I'll find something tomorrow for you - I hope.