Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Castor canadensis - the tale of the big brown beaver

It's been really hot - almost 90 - here lately. It should be about 30 degrees lower. And it's been a humid kinda heat, the kinda heat that makes my hair curl. The kinda heat I despise. In this heat, I hibernate. So do the dogs. Activities slow to a minimum. The dogs do as little as possible, cowering in the shade, waiting for the heat to subside.

Sunday night, Elise wanted to go kayaking.

By 7:30 it was still hot. And I admit, I grumped a little. I was already sweaty. I wasn't looking forward to getting even sweatier paddling across the lake.

As we pushed the kayak from shore, however, the breeze picked up. The sun sat in the western sky, a hot, life-giving orb all orange and ruddy smudge. And then, on the opposite bank, I saw what I thought at first was a small black bear. The dark round mass huddled next to a tree, clearly foraging.

I snapped a picture - so quickly it's not even clearly focused (I apologize to your eyes!)

Soon, it saw us, and slid into the water (see its tail below?)

Elise and I played hide and seek with this beaver for over 30 minutes, chasing her as she swam, head above water. We got so close, we could see her whiskers.

When we got too close, she acted out her classic warning signal to other beavers by dunking herself herself under the dark water, smacking her fat tail on the surface in an attempt to splash us. Water doesn't deter us, however. Especially not on hot days! She didn't seem too afraid of people, though, from the close proximity she allowed.

I was sure glad Elise talked me into a kayak adventure. Five minutes on the lake eases all of the tension away.

Looking forward to the next paddle...

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