Beavers on the Lake

Although we have seen beavers taking willow branches into the lodge on the lake since early May, we have yet to see the kits. Drew was out late the other night and caught images with the thermal imaging scope, but he could not be sure if they were beavers or water voles. Are water voles active at night?

Last night I watched from across the lake and one of the adults took willow into the lodge, then came out without it. It seemed that at least one kit was in there. Then I saw the other adult 30 metres along the bank hanging quietly in the water. Near it was another beaver feeding in the willows. After a while it came out and swam alongside the adult. The kit was massive, about ¾ of the size of the adult. Have we been seeing them before and mistaken them for adults? Gerhard Schaub visited last week. He is a world beaver authority from Bavaria. He and his wife Regina watched the kits at the top pair and he thought one was a yearling because it was so big. But that pair did not breed last year. Meanwhile the kit on the lake looked about twice as big as the kits on the top pen. Presumably the lake kits were born in April and are at least three months old. It certainly seems that the young beavers grow well here where they have unlimited supplies of fresh willow.

The middle pair of beavers have defied all our efforts. I have seen them take food into their burrows but Drew had cameras up last week with apples and carrots as baits. The bait disappeared with hardly a glimpse of a beaver, let alone kits! On Thursday we had some students here planning to do a habitat survey at Skinny Dipping Pond at Blaencwm in August. We will fence off a hectare enclosure there and plan to move this middle pair there in October. Students can then record the progression in habitat changes in the enclosure.

skdp

Nick.

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