Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beaver Feeding on Now

The annual fall beaver feeding program is about 1 month in. I've given the beavers about 15 loads of branches so far, and the food pile at the lodge is starting to build up. My best count so far this fall is 7 beavers at the feeding location at once, but others have reported as many as 9.

It's been awhile since my last post. Part of the problem is that my new camera doesn't have a way to connect to the computer I usually do my posts from. So I have to copy the photo files to another computer and then transfer them to the computer with my Photoshop software so I can edit the photo. The photo with this post is unedited and is therefore a very large file. Usually I save a lower resolution version of the original image. I'm working on a method to make the process speedier, which should result in more posts!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Duck Nest Boxes 2011 #3

Around 10:00 AM on Sunday July 10 I was at Maxwell Lake watching a bufflehead duckling perched at the entrance to one of the nest boxes. The hen was flying back and forth and calling to the duckling. She was able to cling to the nest box entrance with her feet without going inside. The duckling eventually lost it's nerve and went back inside and the hen went inside too after some more calling. Thrilling to see for sure! I waited for half an hour hoping they would try again but no luck. And I didn't have my camera with me.

Even better, there's now a Barrow's goldeneye brood on the lake - I think. For sure there was a female goldeneye and 5 ducklings but they were all over the place and back and forth where the bufflehead nest was hatching, so I can't yet be 100% sure those ducklings belong to the goldeneye hen or if they belonged to the bufflehead hen. I'm not good at telling them apart by species at the duckling stage! I'll go check again to make sure. But overall the good news is this is the first year we've had cavity-nesting duck broods on Maxwell Lake. I think there may be still a few more nests to come.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Duck Nest Boxes 2011 #2

I saw two broods of bufflehead ducklings on another local pond last week so I know that ducking season is here. One hen had 9 little ones that looked to be about a week out of the nest, and the other had 5 that were quite small and probably only a day or so from jumping out of their aerial cavity. I even think I found the pileated woodpecker cavity she probably nested in - it was close by. She's the subject of the first picture. Unfortunately the light was poor so the image is a little grainy.

Last I checked (2 days ago) there were still no ducklings on Maxwell Lake, but I did see a bufflehead hen fly into the nest box by the pond tower to go with the goldeneye hen using one of the boxes on Maxwell Lake. I haven't seen her for a few weeks though, so perhaps she isn't still around.

The second photo is a flipped-over reflection of one of the nest boxes in the still waters of a beaver pond. The evening sun was low and behind me but still bright. The pond was below the sun angle so the light in the reflection was perfect. A beaver had swam through the pond a few minutes before, so there was enought movement in the water to soften the reflection. Another great memory from the beaver boardwalk!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Duck Nest Boxes 2011 #1

Beaver Boardwalk Blog followers know that I put up 7 nest boxes in spring 2010 in an effort to attract duck species that nest in cavities. Another 4 boxes were erected along beaver ponds up the Happy Creek Trail. A beaver felled the tree that one of the boxes was on, leaving 6 boxes around the Beaver Boardwalk area. No luck on those boxes in 2010, but all 4 of the Happy Creek boxes were used by buffleheads, which was really great to see.

Early signs for 2011 are more promising. I saw a female goldeneye come out of one of the boxes last week and another person saw a female goldeneye going into another box. I haven't been able to confirm which goldeneye species we're seeing - Barrow's or Common. Several pairs of Barrow's goldeneyes were on Maxwell Lake earlier, so my bet is on Barrow's.

With any luck we'll be seeing one or more broods of fluffy young goldeneyes within the next several weeks. I'll update the blog when I get more news to report.

New Town Signs

Over the winter the Town of Hinton installed a bunch of new signs using the new sign theme for all Hinton signs that was approved last year. There are now new signs on Highway 16 and at other locations that make it easy for visitors to get to the Beaver Boardwalk. That's really great, because a lot of visitors were having difficulty before. Fortunately there were always lots of helpful locals who would set visitors on the right path, and most of them eventually ended up at the Boardwalk.

The photo shows the main new sign erected at the junction of Collinge Road and Sutherland Avenue. I understand the Town also has plans to erect new signs along the trail network in the Boardwalk area.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beavers grooming each other

Most of the time beaver grooming is a solitary affair. It's not that beavers are anti-social - not within the family unit at least. They keep very close company and seem to like it. But when it comes to actually touching and interacting with the other guy, that's not quite so common. If a beaver gets too close to another beaver it's more likely that one of the beavers will rebuff the other or simply leave.

This photo shows two beavers, a yearling and a kit, in the process of grooming each other. The kit swam to where the yearling was already engaged in a grooming session and pushed it's way into the action. The yearling didn't miss a beat and switched to grooming the kit, which started to return the favour. This went on for about 5 minutes. Then the embrace ended and each beaver continued to groom itself.