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:
With the warm weather this weekend, it’s finally time to get back onto the river. I pulled out the kayak and headed downriver to the mouth of Hewes Brook. On a tiny island, inches above the level of the river, I found a Canada Goose guarding her nest.
Shortly downriver, another goose hesitated until I was near, then launched out of the water and into the air.
On that island, a bit bigger, is a beaver lodge dating back several years.
Is it still occupied? I’ll check again another day.
See the full-resolution gallery for more/better pictures.
A stroll along River Road, just upstream, brought me an opportunity to see some of the local regulars as well as some unusual migrants – all at the mouth of Grant Brook. Although the winter’s ice has just begun to recede, the critters moved in quickly. We saw some green-headed Mallard ducks, but also a pair of Mallards with vibrant blue heads:
Our annual canoe trip on the Connecticut River – this year, we reach Bellows Falls.
Every year we paddle a little further down the Connecticut River. Five years ago we started at its source, on the border with Canada, and two years ago we reached our home in Lyme NH. Not satisfied, we decided to keep going! This year we paddled from Wilgus State Park (near Ascutney, VT) to Bellows Falls VT. Although a short trip – two short days with a beautiful sunny Saturday in the middle – it was a lovely trip. We camped riverside the first night, arriving after sunset and “making do” with a less-than-ideal location. The second night we stayed at Lower Meadows campsite, a pretty location on a spit next to Meary’s Cove and the lake formed by the dam at Bellows Falls. Continue reading “Connecticut River canoe trip”