Thursday, 18 May 2017

Scottish Beavers

On the evening of 16th May, I spent a few bottom-numbing hours sat on a Perthshire river bank, amongst wild garlic, scent filling the air.

A wasp was busy collecting wood off of a nearby branch, accompanied by evening bird song.  The morning's rain gave way to an evening of blue sky and sun.  There was a bit of a breeze, but the river, for the most part, remained mirror-like in the slow flow.

Wasp (it flew off before I could get it in focus!)
A Grey Wagtail hopped across a toppled tree that bathed in the shallows of the river's edge.  The tree hadn't fallen in the wind, the reason for its felling was evident by the remains of it's trunk.  Looking like a giant sharpened pencil, with gnawing marks left by large teeth, this was the work of Beavers, and what I was here to hopefully see.

Beaver craftsmanship
After an hour, there was still no sign of the large rodent.  Spirits were lifted with the sudden whizzing past of a bird, the turquoise flash giving away the Kingfisher as it sped past.

Not long after, finally, our first Beaver!  It was the female.  Swimming gracefully, head out of the water, looking around.  What a beautiful creature.  Sadly, persecuted, but they will be getting the legal protection they deserve soon.

The female Beaver, swimming in the wrong direction!
Unfortunately, no sooner had the female appeared, she disappeared. More patient waiting, and we saw her once again.  Following her movements through the binoculars I saw her perform an almost ripple-less dive down beneath the surface.

Once the coast was clear, we walked further along, and saw the male's lodge.  And shortly after, the male came swimming into view, and into his home.  I caught sight of him again, moving along the edge, beneath branches and roots, and then his back as he moved out of the water, until I couldn't see him.  Another brief glimpse and that was it for the watch. I've been wanting to see the Beavers for a number of years and it was very exciting to finally be able to watch them.


© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.