Friday, April 22, 2011

4 Beavers

Today was quite a run day. I saw 4 beavers (and witnessed beaver aggression) and 2 otters.

Gary and I started out together and ran around Madison and Coleman Parks from Leschi. On our way back from Madison we spotted what appeared to be 2 otters cavorting in the water just offshore at Madrona Park.

We split up at Coleman Park and I continued south to the Genessee Marina. After spotting a beaver swimming into the cove I walked out to the point just to the south to see if I could spot any more. Sure enough, I could see a tell-tale wake heading my way from the south. I decided to wait silently and see what would happen, how close the beaver might pass me by.

As I was waiting I heard this distinctive beaver-chomping sound: ch-ch-ch-ch... - faster than you can say it. When I turned around there was a big fat beaver sitting up on the shore demolishing a branch that it had cut down and dropped into the water. You can't believe how fast those animals can cut off branches and peel all the bark and leaves off.

Anyway, it was working away like, well, like a beaver when the one swimming from the south came up. It noticed the on-shore beaver chomping away and turned and swam up to the branch beaver #1 was working on. It grabbed the whole branch in its mouth, flipped over on its back, and backstroked away with the whole thing, leaving beaver #1 with only a single tiny little branch that it was working on. The branch that #2 swam off with was about 6 feet long with all kinds of little side branches.

Beaver #1 swam after beaver #2 and when it got close swam right up to it. #2 would have none of this and gave #1 a big slap. #1 then swam disconsolately over to the shore while #2 proceeded to eat its spoils.

As I turned to leave yet another beaver came swimming around the point, perhaps to try for some breakfast?

So, 2 otters, 4 beavers. A good morning of animal sights. And this doesn't even count the bird song identification from Gary.