Better Believe It's A Beaver

Alert Gazette readers will recall that two years ago, I documented my observation of what I was convinced was a beaver swimming in the creek behind our house. I was, unfortunately, unable to provide photographic evidence of the encounter, owing to a combination of my ineptitude and the vagaries of an older phone (but mostly the former). While I was sure of what I saw, almost everyone with whom I shared the story pooh-poohed the idea that there are beavers in our neighborhood, and over time even I began to doubt it, because I never witnessed a reappearance.

The Loch Ness Monster vs. a Texas beaver tail
Fact or Fiction? We report; you decide.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Debbie and I headed out for a morning run and as we passed the low water crossing, we saw a pickup stopped in the middle and a dark shape moving in front of it and diving into the water. It disappeared too quickly, and we were too far away to make an identification, but it looked suspiciously like a rather large mammal. Could it be...?

When we awoke yesterday morning around 6:30, we could hear the sound of rushing water from the confines of our bedroom, attesting to the vigor of the line of thunderstorms that moved across the area a few hours earlier. I went outside and found almost 2.5" of rain in our gauge, and could catch a glimpse of the creek running over the bridge a half block away. I grabbed my phone and walked down to investigate.

As I approached the creek crossing, I began videoing the scene, focusing on the rushing water coming over the bridge. I then panned to the right of the bridge, where the creek was backed up and overflowing its usual boundaries. The water on that side was as smooth as glass - albeit really muddy glass. As such, any disturbance on the surface of the water was easily spotted. I saw a suspicious ripple moving toward me.

It doesn't take long to learn to discern how different species move through the water. Snakes, as you would expect, create a series of S-shaped ripples when they swim. Turtles rarely swim on the surface, and if they do, only their heads disturb the water. Whatever was moving toward me was no reptile. I kept my phone focused on that object as it came closer. Here's the result.

I was pretty excited, for several reasons. First, it's always cool to be in the right place at the right time and with something in hand to record the event. My phone isn't the optimum tool for such a job, but as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Second, I'm a bit passionate about spotting wildlife (is it obvious?) and especially critters that are rarely seen. I'm continually amazed at the variety of life that we're privileged to co-exist with around here.

And last - but certainly not least - I feel vindicated with respect to that initial sighting in 2018. Take that, you doubters...I'm not insane after all (at least, not in the way you imagine)!

My only regret is a minor one. I do wish I'd had the ability to snap some closeup photos, but given the choice between having a few still pictures and a video like the one above...I'm definitely happy to have the movie.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on May 17, 2020 4:59 PM.

Neighborhood Nature (Pt. 3) was the previous entry in this blog.

Goose and Gander Grievance is the next entry in this blog.

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