The start of a new season
As a few of you will know, there is one thing that really gets my heart racing, and that is sharing my love of the beavers with others. Whether it is taking people to the river, giving talks to school kids or just generally speaking to complete strangers, my passion for it is there to see. The look on people’s faces when they see the beaver for the first time is truly incredible and the obvious joy and wonderment in that first sighting really makes my heart soar. In truth, there is nothing to beat the sharing of that encounter with others, though private and personal evenings are equally joyous.
On Thursday the 12th March, I took a wee wander with my pup down to the river, 1st time I’ve been down for some time to be honest. Previous escapades have resulted in blanks and a feeling of worry as the lodge/burrow has been made very obvious due to flooding and the scouring of the bank. This resulted in quite a few of the trees and bushes protecting the lodge being either flattened or ripped out altogether. This, plus the fact I hadn’t seen either the resident family or obvious feeding stations started me thinking the worse. The local farmer is not a major fan either and I honestly was beginning to think I’d lost my family of beavers to one thing or the other. So, it was with a wee bit of trepidation and no-hope, we wandered down to the river. The day had been a particular warm one, if not a bit on the damp side and the Ericht was running high due to the obvious rainfall and snow- melt. Typical to my luck at present, I’d forgotten to take a camera, and how I cursed myself after reaching the lade! There, only feet from me, were 2 adult beavers taking shelter from the river in the slow running water of the old mill lade. To say it was a double edged sword is pointing out the obvious, as I saw the beasties but had no way of sharing the experience. I was gutted as much as I was excited but (“every cloud” as Tina says) it gave me the wee jolt I was needing, they were still there, they were still alive. Quality.com 🙂 Granted, they didn’t hang about long but I still got a few moments watching them. The bigger of the 2 (mum I think) was pretty laid back until the smaller adult decided enough was enough and gave me a very impressive tail-splash, mum followed suit, but it seemed to be a half-hearted affair. Over the years watching this family, mum seems to be quite a chilled out animal apart from when the kits appear, then she is a bit more “on point” as my eldest would say.
Friday evening, I popped back down with no success, then went to a local loch to see if I could get a sneaky peek. This loch has been a bit of an enigma to me to be honest, tried trapping it a couple of years ago with no joy, but there is so much obvious activity it is unreal!!!! However, regardless of only 2 sightings over 2 years, and a few warning tail-splashes, I have found a lovely wee observation point not far from the lodge, so hopefully I’ll have some pics/vids this year of that particular location. Re location, it’s awesome and honestly what you’d expect as typical beaver habitat, almost Canadian in outlook. Almost!!!!! lol. Saying that, Scotland, and in particular Tayside, is a really beautiful place when you open your eyes and heart to it. There are so many hidden gems at your/our doorstep.
Saturday, my usual early morning saunter with the dog and camera didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped. It wasn’t ’til well after 11 that we got out. The skies were grey, light was poor and tbh my heart wasn’t in it. Stormont loch and Hare’s Myre were the designated walk, hoping to catch a bullfinch or two, Red Squirrel’s, maybe Goldcrest or something interesting on either loch. Not to be however, though Coco did flush a couple of reds, no decent pics though. Goldeneye and Tufties were in abundance on both lochs, Mutes (12+) on Stormont but again no pics. We were also given a choral greeting by a pair of Tawny’s, this to me was a brilliant experience, as it was truly unexpected. As evening approached, the skies cleared and my 4 legged buddy and I popped down to the loch. At arriving we were greeted with a Roe doe feeding where I park up, lovely to see, impossible to get a pic. We ventured down to the loch and sat for a bit among the reeds. I will have to share some pics of the area as it is brilliant. The beaver has gouged out areas near to the lodge for mud to make his home, in doing this they are almost making their lodge inaccessible via terrestrial access. I don’t know if this is meant or just by default, but either way it is a sight well worth seeing. So, nothing to see at the loch I went to the river. On reaching the path I was greeted with a bloody big splash. Beaver!!!! My heart jumped a beat or two, they’re here 🙂 Doubt vanquished, I trod on to my usual viewing stations and I was rewarded with a couple of brief sightings. After a wee bit, headed back and again I was rewarded with a beautiful sighting of a decent sized yearling, “SPLASH”. Hey, regardless of minimal sightings, the briefest encounter really is special. Try it, you’ll love it