More beaver!

I went to bed last night expecting to sleep in this morning during the rain, but the rain didn’t come, and so off to the park I went. I spotted one deer, who just wasn’t in the mood, and so continued on straight to the pond.

All the ducks, the wood duck hen and her six ducklings plus the American black duck hen, were on the lawn when I arrived. Unfortunately, it was still pretty dark, and they were all spread out and moving around anyway, so you get a picture of this red-winged blackbird posing on the “Please don’t feed the ducks or geese” sign instead.

The river, I am happy to report, was a different story. The beaver were out again, and this time I can assert that I saw at least three distinct animals, but I couldn’t detect if any were noticeably smaller than any others.

Individual 1
Individual 2 or 3

I read about the beaver home life that they “usually mate for life, forming familial colonies. Beaver “kits” are born precocious and with a developed coat. The young beaver “kits” typically remain with their parents up to two years.

If hunches were bunches, then “individual 1” is actually Mom, with a tendency to project the tip of her tail out of the water and slightly lighter color than Dad, whom we saw yesterday, who was absent this morning, and whom I’ve never seen project the tip of his tail out of the water. And “individuals 2 & 3” are the youngsters, with visibly more-matted fur than “individual 1”.

Here’s a shot of that tail tip sticking out of the water, which I have not yet seen before.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the mystery of who is who unfolds.

At the falls, I spotted this catbird hunting around on the ground and was surprised by its willingness to let me get so close, which made me think that maybe it was a youngster whose flying was not yet so good. In the viewfinder, however, I could see that it was collecting nesting material, not food, and it eventually flew across the river just fine. I read that catbirds have “2 broods per year,” and that nests are “built mostly by [the] female.” Good luck, sweetie!

As I approached the north end, I finally spotted one of these striking little white-spotted sable moths (Anania funebris) who didn’t quite manage to hide itself under a leaf for a change.

While I was there, I spotted a handsome blossom I don’t believe I seen before, and it appears to be (with 79.01% confidence) marsh hedgenettle or marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris). The Pedia of Wik reports that “it is used to promote the healing of wounds,” and it adds, helpfully, that “wort is a middle English word for a herb or vegetable.” Good to know!

When I finally reached the water, I could only find one set of ducklings, but there’s a lot of water to check, so chances are that the others were about somewhere.

On my way back south, I spotted this ginormous bull frog chillin’ just off shore. It’s hard to tell for sure, because I didn’t have a ruler with me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s six inches long, which I read is really possible “in snout–to–vent length.” This is the sort of individual I would believe is capable of consuming ” rodents, small lizards and snakes, other frogs and toadsamphibianscrayfish, small birds, scorpionstarantulas and bats.”

Hardly much bigger than the frog, but not for long, was this little cutie beside the walking path.

Finally, some new equipment arrived in the mail yesterday, namely a monopod and related accoutrements, that I was anxious to try out, and which I have a hope will help me improve image quality, so here are a couple of sightings from yesterday afternoon.

First up, is a monarch butterfly, whom I’ve seen less of this season than I’d like, and who sure took his sweet time finding just the right milkweed blossom to pose upon.

Ah, but pose he did!

Lastly, this little red-eyed vireo was much bolder and lower to the ground than usual, and made me wonder if it was a recent fledgling, a matter on which the Cornell Lab of Ornithology appears to be silent.

In any case, the monopod seems to work, so watch this space!

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

5 thoughts on “More beaver!

  1. Spectacular photos, as usual. Don’t know if a result of that new equipment or not, but the detail on the beaver tail, and on the Monarch is awesome.


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