Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Napa Beaver Drama Unfolds


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night heron with fish
Black-crowned Night Heron catching large-mouthed bass in the Napa Beaver Pond – Photo: Hank Miller

A lot is happening with our new friends at the Napa beavers. They are getting mink visits, amazing night heron and great blue heron photos, and one of their two kits is sick. We noticed him very listless in a video Rusty sent on Wednesday and he was out during the day on Friday. A rescue worker tried to pick him/her up but he rallied long enough to give her the slip. Rusty saw him last night, going into and out of the lodge, and looking slightly more lively. We spoke with the excellent beaver rehabber Cher Button-Dobmeier from the Abbe-Freeland center in NY, Mean while Sonoma wildlife is on alert, and there has been a lot of discussion back and forth over whether/when to intervene, and when to let nature take its course. At the moment  the decision seems to be if he’s out during the day pick him up.

GBH Napa

It made me remember that our first year we had a kit die (the one they found out was blind) and the next year lost two to what we later learned was round worm parasite. I was prepared for it to be the same every year, but it hasn’t happened since. It made me wonder if kits born to newish parents are more vulnerable to infection/parasite? Even when our mom was dying her final kits grew up healthy. But our new beaver mom seems young, and her kits are healthy, so that wouldn’t make sense.  Maybe it’s a habitat thing – more recently colonized habitat caries greater risk of transmission? And the risk decreases over time? Or maybe it’s just a fluke?sick kit rescueThe flurry of activity – trauma and discovery- reminds me of our early days, and how amazing it was to watch the blooming Alhambra Creek come to life lo those many years ago. Remember how surprised we were when Moses first saw the mink?

All of which helps make the case that beaver ponds create thriving ecosystems with massive biodiversity. Here’s a nice article this morning from Massachusetts of all places that proves it!

Penthouses built high over the water

This week Stream Team photographer Judy Schneider has taken the lead with a domestic scene of beauty. The feathered family photographed is on and around a rough nest of sticks high in a beaver-drowned White Pine. Most area heron rookeries are above beaver impoundments. 

Why don’t we ever get Great Blue Herons in Martinez? Oh that’s right, we do.Immature Great Blue Heron at the footbridge: Photo - Mary Long

Immature Great Blue Heron at the footbridge: Photo – Mary Long

Hank just sent footage of his adventure. Unbelievable. I count 3 rare species, but maybe I missed one?