Sunday, November 3, 2013


At first glance I thought I was looking at a muskrat, he was so small.  His eyes were very alert and clear, much different than those of an adult beaver.  
He was really moving fast, much faster than I'd ever seen a beaver swim.  That is one reason I thought it was a muskrat.  Muskrats swim very fast stopping for nothing while in the water.

His fur was of a red tint and stiff guard hairs could be seen along his back.  All the fat beavers I have observed in the past sported dark brown fur.  I was looking at an adolescent beaver.  This guy was only a teenager by human standards.  He was wasting no time and it was clear he had a destination in mind.

 This fellow was much thinner than his adult counterparts and he appeared to be lithe and more streamlined in form which accounts for his fast speed.

Even though I knew he was a beaver, I questioned my own identification ability to be sure of him.  I never saw a beaver swim so swiftly, but then again, I've never witnessed a young animal on the river.

Beavers, unlike otters, swim with a greater portion of their bodies, their backs, above the surface of the water.  An otter will swim with only his head above the surface with the tail occasionally breaking through the surface as he uses it to help guide his progress.  Otters do on occasion porpoise over the surface of the water and appear as a sea serpent would in a science fiction movie.
The swimming beaver's tail remains submerged when underway.  He still looks allot like a muskrat.
The little fellow dove under some logs and came up behind an island made of dead river grass and moss.  Some mud sediment had collected in that mess and tiny ferns and green mosses grew out of the brew.  He crawled upon that perilous surface and commenced to eat the tender, dark green mosses growing there.
The above shot is the only time he slowed or hesitated during his entire swim to this spot.   He then climbed out of the water.

My big white boat drifted downstream and directly across from him and he turned to look my way.  The above shots indicate his awareness of me.

I was so focused on this beaver that I failed to see the two otters slip quietly out of the river bank behind this island and swim downstream against the bank.  What luck!  I only had time to take a fast picture and the moment was lost.  At least I know the otters are still safe.  The picture below is the only shot I could get of one of the otters.  They disappeared as quickly as they appeared.  You have to look closely to see him.  His head and tail are showing out of water.
I felt good about the luck finding the beaver and bad at the same time for blowing it with the otter.  I'll get em.  I cranked up the engine and moved on downstream.  The river is beautiful this time of year.
I'm thinking of returning here tomorrow with the canoe.  The water is in too good of shape to pass up a canoe paddle trip.  I'd like to park the canoe below that beaver island and just sit there and wait the otters and beavers out.  I can read a book on my new Kindle I just received as a present from a dear friend in Pennsylvania.

Some days are just perfect and this is one of them.

 Foxy Squirrel is out foraging on the river bank.  Very cute.

The fox and gray squirrels are so funny as they scream out their discontent with each other over territorial disputes.  It's a never ending hollering contest when the two species come in close proximity of each other.

I had to check on the eagles before I left the lake.  They were not on the mountain.  It's been awhile since I saw them.  Then all of a sudden one of the bald eagles appeared flying high over the mountain.  He was very, very far away and very high.  I took a chance and tried a few pictures.  Notice in the picture directly below - the eagle is carrying a branch in his talons.  You can see the sticks protruding out behind him.  They are definitely carrying sticks to their nest to reinforce it for Winter and Spring when the babies will arrive.  They're "early birds."

This has been a magnificent day!  I really needed this one as the traffic and the area in general was getting to me this week end.  I'm OK when I can get to some secluded spot but, I hate cars and traffic and I despise the towns of Jefferson City and Morristown -  both useless and sorry excuses for any form of culture at all. Traffic through ways are about all either is worth.

I'm off tomorrow and I'll see how the wind is in the morning.  If it's calm I'll be paddling the canoe.