Sunday, December 29, 2013

The dam is still there

If you live in the Baltimore area, you may have noticed that it rained today. I thought it might be fun to look at the USGS stream data for Minebank run.

Whoa, look at that.

As it usually does during a heavy rain, the stream went in to flood mode. I imagined that the dam was probably overwhelmed. 

I decided to drive up to the park to see for myself. 

I was wrong. The dam was still there. Which was a very pleasant surprise. 

breached on the 15th.
The dam was breached once already this month, on the 15th.  

The beaver pair repaired it pretty quickly, and have been reinforcing it; apparently

repaired by the 22nd.

in good shape on the 28th.

and still holding up on the 29th.

Enjoy a couple videos that I captured recently. 

More later.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wow. Some great videos.

The lower dam. 15 DEC 2013.
On my last visit to the camera, I made several observations.

1--The last of the two dams has been breached. This is from the rain and melting snow that we experienced recently. As of this writing, there is more snow that will soon melt.

We'll see what happens.

2--There are two beavers in what certainly is a mating pair.I wish I could tell you that from my brilliant tracking observations. But I'm not that brilliant. Keep looking below and you'll see video proof that there are two.

3--Those two beavers have been very active. There are tracks and slides on both sides of Minebank Run. And they are very well used. There also are several medium trees cut down, again on both sides of the run.  There are two food caches in the run, and thee were two dams. The first was washed away completely about two weeks ago. I hope the beavers rebuild the one that still stands.

Meanwhile, I got lucky, and captured some great video of the beaver pair at work.

This picture shows the camera as I set it up on the 7th. You can make out the camera attached to a stump in the left center of the picture. It's focused on a tree the beavers had already cut down. That tree is across the image in the upper half.

I captured a great series of the beavers working. You'll see that it didn't take them long to reduce the tree to almost nothing. They appear to have dragged to branches to the winter food cache in Minebank Run.

So, enjoy the videos below.

More later.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not a fox hunt, but a fox hunting

I checked the camera today, and was delighted to find a lot of fun videos. I plan to write an expanded post later this week.

Among the videos was this interesting series of a fox hunting.

In the first video, you can see the fox go into its pounce position. It has smelled prey, and is ready to get a meal.

The camera is set up to record video  for 30 seconds. Then it stops and saves the file. After that, it's ready to go again. Sadly, that means that the camera missed the first pounce. Look closely, and you'll see that the fox is about two feet to the left of where it was at the end of the first video. Obviously, though, it didn't catch dinner. It is poking around and trying hard to find the target that it missed.

This third video shows another unsuccessful pounce. Look closely at the lower left and you can see the prey running away, and almost being caught. That's in the beginning of the video. Then you can see one frustrated, hungry fox. 

I was fascinated to see these videos, and hope you enjoy them. Stop by Cromwell Valley Park soon, and perhaps you'll get a glimpse of the fox too. Wish it a Happy Christmas when you see it.

More later. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Foxes are monogamous...

So, it seems that everywhere I have put the camera in Cromwell Valley Park, I get a picture of a fox. This
led me to wonder how many there might be in the park. Great question, isn't it? Turns out the best answer I can find is something like "it depends".

Apparently, their range varies with food availability, and tends to grow in the winter.  Some sources say that their territories can overlap, although the den areas never do They do travel. One source says that daily travel of over six miles is not uncommon.

I surmise that food is plentiful in Cromwell Valley as there seem to be a lot of fox in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile...we seem to be at the peak of the white tail rutting season. See,

Or see this picture. This guy is after something, isn't he? By the way, be careful driving. The deer are running around everywhere And they aren't paying attention to cars.

The beaver activity seems to be increasing. That is to be expected. Both dams are being built up, and the underwater food cache is growing. Winter is coming, and our favorite rodent knows it.

In this picture, you can see the beaver carrying food into the stream, preparing for winter.

More pictures are below. I hope you enjoy them.

More later.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Great day yesterday.

So,  three weeks a go I thought I would place the camera overlooking a field below the Sherwood Farm. It turns out that I picked one place in the park that has no wildlife. In all that time, the camera picked up one deer--and nothing else.

Good day though, anyway.

I went to see the progress the beaver was making on its new dam. As I was standing there, I heard a small plop in the water.

Seconds later, the beaver appeared. It swam to and fro for several minutes, before going back to hide somewhere. This was just before 1:00 pm. It's pretty rare that beavers come out in the daytime. I don't know if it is significant that this one did, or just a random event.

Either way, I was glad to see it.

Enjoy the pictures.

More later.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The beaver is still there

So, the repaired camera came back from the vendor this week. I cannot say enough about the prompt and fast service from They rock.

I looked around for a new place for the camera and decided to see what is to be seen in an open field. So this is the view from the current camera placement.  I've never put the camera in such an open place. Let's hope we find something. Stay tuned.

Then I decided to poke around the recently storm-destroyed dam. I was decided to see that the beaver is still in Minebank Run, just a little further upstream.

This time, our rodent friend has built two dams, perhaps 30 yards apart.

Upstream from the two dams is a pool where it has started its winter food cache.

I also saw what I believe is the start of the bank den.

And look at the way it's eating the bark off this big tree.
After taking this photograph, I noticed the same thing done to another tree. Both trees are over 2 feet in diameter. It's hard to imagine that the beaver can cut them down. Time will tell.

More later.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The dam and the camera are both broken.

the dam. Friday 11 October 2013, 11:41.
I checked the dam twice during our recent deluge.

Once on Friday morning.

You can see that the water is already over the top of the dam, and going around it on both sides. Really, I was surprised to see it still standing.

the dam. Monday 14 October 2013. 14:40.
By Monday the 14th, It was breached.

You can see that about half of the dam has been washed downstream.

I'll keep an eye on this to see if the beavers decide to move on.

Meanwhile, back on top of the hill....
I got some videos of the animals that I'll post here. I think I've proven over the last few weeks that there are fox, deer, squirrels, and raccoon up there. Not to mention a dangling leaf. So, I'm going to move the camera to somewhere else in the park--just don't know where. And not until I get it repaired.

 More later.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

If there's no water in it, is it still a stream?

So, I had a chance to visit the camera yesterday.

 I thought I had it set up with a nice view through some relatively open woods. I expected to get quite a few interesting pictures.


I was wrong.

I got a nice deer, a fox, and just a few squirrels.
This may be a camera placement problem, or perhaps seasonal change in behavior. Perhaps the animals are moving downhill for some reason?

The camera is still in the same area, but oriented differently. The next visit may reveal some answers.

Meanwhile, back at the dam....

The beaver has certainly been at work.
the dam. 1 Oct 2013.

You can see that the dam is larger than it was when I last saw it. And in the photographs below, what I think is the first of its winter food cache, secreted in the new pond.

And another fascinating observation. You can see that there is water in Minebank run where the beaver dam is. About 500 yards downstream from that, where second dam was destroyed completely by flooding, there is no water in the channel.

Another 400 yards downstream there's water again. Go figure.

I've read some reports about the restoration efforts on Minebank Run and haven't found any references to springs feeding the stream. That seems a likely explanation, though. I know that there are springs in the area.

More later.