Sunday, October 19, 2008
One cooperative beaver
I staked the camera at the end of the dam where the water rushed through the gap. This is where I expected the action, but it was impossible to set the camera there. So I pointed it at the dam itself, thinking Bucky would waddle over the sticks to reach its construction site.
It was late afternoon, the mossies were thick, and Brian waited patiently as I went through the usual self-torment. Would the rodent amble across the dam, or would it swim to the gap? Would it incorporate the camera into the dam, as it apparently did with Brian's camera a couple years ago? And how often did it visit the dam? (I had only 4 days to get the picture). Or was it even here? Maybe it was working one of the less accessible dams on the Mora River.
I took a small bottle of birch oil from my pack -- this minty-smelling stuff IS improving the smell of that nasty sack -- and dipped two thin twigs into the bottle. I laid them on the dam at two points in front of the camera. Then I took a deep snort of the oil. Aroma therapy.
Well, at the end of the week I found that it worked. Bucky stopped long enough to sniff the first twig.
And then the second one.
All but one of the other photos were false triggers. That one picture made it clear that the engineer was busy at the other end of the dam.
That made for one cooperative beaver and one happy codger.
Postscript: Brian informs me that since our visit the beaver(s) have constructed a new dam, downstream from this one. Check out the benefits of beaver dams in Laura Klappenbach's Wildlife Blog.