I first spotted the beaver by his wake – gliding smoothly out from shore, just downstream of the dock. I placed my rowing shell gently into the water, keeping one eye on my busy downstream neighbor. He arched his back, slapped his tail loudly, and dove… only to emerge a few seconds later, a few meters away. I sat still, and watched. He looked at me. I looked at him. He paddled along, zig-zagging upstream ever closer to me, clearly curious to see who (or what) I was, and what I might be up to. My fingers itched for my smartphone – only 10 meters away, on shore where I’d left it – but to stand up and fetch it, I knew, would spoil the moment. The beaver swam ever closer, his eyes on me every moment.
Eventually – for the moment seemed to last, though it was surely only one or two minutes – he pulled alongside the dock, keeping a safe distance of five meters, watching me from the side as he paddled strongly upstream.
Then a sudden SLAP and he dove again. The moment was gone; I readied my shell to row, and he resumed his course across the river.
It’s moments like these when I wish I had a camera, or even a smartphone. No such luck today! The photo above is from a sequence I shot in 2017.
Today’s beaver may have been the same fellow whose photo I shared in April: