Beavers and a Quest for Color - UPDATE October 20, 2019

When the morning sun hit the beaver lodge out my window, it looked different than I’d ever seen it. It was nearly buried in fresh black mud that busy beavers had piled onto it overnight.Ruffed grouseRuffed grouse I don’t see a winter food cache in front of it yet, but I believe the rejuvenation of this lodge on Woods Lake is a sign they are reverting back to it after years of using an alternate that is visible out the window in the marsh. The rejuvenated lodge was built in 1977 according to the former owner here. The picture of the alternate in the marsh on Little Woods Lake here doesn’t show any sign of work that I could notice.

That made me want to check two other beaver lodges on this beautiful, calm, sunny day. The new beaver lodge in my bay on Eagles Nest Lake One of recent years had as many as 5 beavers near on one day this past summer. The picture shows it framed by tamarack trees with the remains of last year’s food cache in front of it.

Beaver lodge woods lake built in 1977Beaver lodge woods lake built in 1977 Beaver lodge in woods lake marshBeaver lodge in woods lake marsh


I then drove up to the north end of Eagles Nest Lake One to check the beaver lodge that was active in the 1990’s and 2000’s, but it is now disintegrating and has weeds and bushes growing on it. So I guess on that lake, they are sticking with their latest and newest in my bay.

Beaver lodge in my bayBeaver lodge in my bay Beaver lodge on Eagles Nest Lake OneBeaver lodge on Eagles Nest Lake One

 

Nearly all the leaves are down. The scattered trees that are still covered with bright yellow leaves are mostly birches. Yellow bushes are mostly willows. Tamarack trees with their yellowish gold needles are the most prominent color.

OverlookOverlook Tamarack on woods lakeTamarack on woods lake

 
Then there were the exceptions. I drove to the overlook that is a mile and a quarter from here as the crow flies, and there were a couple aspens in full color against a background with miles of leafless aspen and birches.

Red Oak leaves backlitRed Oak leaves backlitDriving back to the WRI cabin, there were a couple dazzling gems of color remaining. One was a couple of backlit blueberry leaves that glowed bright red. Blueberry leaves backlitBlueberry leaves backlitThe other was a small branch of backlit northern red oak leaves glowing on a tree whose other leaves were brown and shriveled after being smooth and deep red a couple weeks ago.

Near the driveway, a grouse was taking refuge on this safe property during grouse hunting season. All I could see was its camouflaged head and neck as it watched me roll down the window and click. I don’t see many grouse right here.

We’re seeing the last of the color here.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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