Monday, 24 August 2009

Beaver search

The last night at the stuga Alice and I went out to try and see the local beaver.

It was approaching 8pm - perfect time for beaver watching - sun is on the way down but still plenty of visibility, quiet on the water and this is idle for beavers - they can get out and do their thing without disturbance.

A fleece, life jacket, hat and binoculars for Alice - so she looked the part for an adventure. A hat and binoculars for me and we were ready. Just collect the oars and off to launch the canoe.

The canoe was parked on the hillside and so launch was fairly easy - just point downhill and let slowly into the water.

As it entered the water I noticed a bit of water coming in at the front. The canoe wasn't ideal for Alice and myself - slightly unruly and not easy to distribute the weight well - launching into a cross-wind didn't help. Hmm, maybe I should have put on a life jacket as well.

The Search
Alice "helped" with the paddling - which sometimes seemed like we were counter-acting each other. After 5-10 minutes paddling we were about 50 metres from the beaver's lodge. All stop.

Then we saw it - head out of the water, doing a breast stroke - or whatever the beaver-equivalent is. We paddled gently and drifted nearer to get a better look.

"Quiet" Observation
Time for binoculars. Alice's pair were by her feet under the seat. It wasn't easy for her to get them - being trussed-up like a turkey in her life jacket.

The combination of her trying to get the binoculars, rocking the canoe, us turning into a cross-wind, me trying to steady the canoe and stop us tipping over meant that the beaver was gone.

The whispering at the top of our voices probably didn't help either!

It had had enough of our laurel-n-hardy attempts at nature watching and swam off - probably to somewhere quieter! Alice saw it splash its tail as it went. Obviously in disgust!

We circled around and drifted further out but the beaver didn't reappear. Time to head home.

At least we got back dry!

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