It's not over yet!
I went over to try and catch another sunset on Wednesday. This was taken from Osprey Point. Had you guessed that? It was a very cold afternoon, and I decided to head back by way of the Lily Pond to see if it was frozen over. As I walked by on the south side (near the Poison Ivy hedge!), something caught my eye on the north shore of the pond. I backtracked to check it out. Sure enough, a beaver had chewed the bark off a clump of small trees, making the chewed area appear yellow from a distance. I'm used to seeing this feature down in Connecticut where the beavers are ever present. But here we have one in our small Lily Pond! Roger tells me this has happened about 3 times in the 30 some odd years he has been responsible for the campground's maintenance. Some of you may remember the time we saw a beaver on Head Beach that took off in the salt water while trying to find a new habitat.
I had to wait until the next day to discover whether there was a lodge, but sure enough, one now stands in the shrubbery on the northwest corner. It looks brown since mostly mud covers the outside. One would expect to see debarked branches sticking from the construction, but there are few. In the sites on the north shore (Shelter Valley) it isn't hard to find where trees and small clumps of shrubs have been cut down. I also found where a beaver had broken the ice and come ashore. The first day when I made these discoveries, the pond was not completely iced over. In fact, I was lucky enough to see the beaver swimming out in the open area, and diving for plants and mud. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a picture. I tried again tonight, but after becoming totally chilled, I gave up while waiting for 3/4 of an hour. Beaver are primarily nocturnal, so it may be difficult to get a picture to share, though I will keep trying. Tomorrow we are expecting snow, so I may have to be satisfied with tracks where the animal comes ashore. I also detected bubbles in the ice, another indication of beaver activity.
Below is a picture taken across the pond this morning. It was easy for me to see the lodge, though it may be more difficult for you. It is basically in the middle of the picture down in that low growing vegetation. You are probably wondering how this beaver landed in our pond. It is possible this beaver followed North Creek into our waters and came ashore in search of a habitat. How they scout out available water bodies is interesting to ponder. Beavers stay in the family until they are two years. At that time, they are "pushed out" and forced to find new quarters. This one may have come from the active beaver colony at Sprague Pond. Center Pond also has its share of these rodents. So here we have a story unfolding. It may require trapping the animal for moving to the beaver pond off the Center Pond trails. That one has a habitat not in use at the moment.
It is a known fact that this animal has many homes in Phippsburg. It requires a deeper pond, though the Lily Pond is quite full these days after a very wet fall. A lodge has an underwater entrance requiring a static depth of water. Most of you know that our pond shrinks considerably in other seasons. One wonders if this beaver may make an attempt at damming some of the runoffs to prevent lowering of the water. Time will tell; this story is not over!
A few more footnotes....Roger has been busy cutting up the downed trees along the harbor near the Yankee Dock. The roads are passable once again in the aftermath of the twister. Also, I am coming to the conclusion that the winter food of gulls is primarily surf clams! Remember how we would always see the dismembered crabs where gulls have dined? Now I am finding broken clam shells surrounded by gull footprints. Of course, we have high surf that sucks the clams out of their hiding and throws them ashore. 12/8/05 Busy beavering Ronnie.