Apart from everyone who’d ever been outside, ever, I mean. Still it’s nice to read some appreciation even if no one understand who to thank.
When I was a young man, we called them swamps. It’s where cottontails often headed when being chased by our beagles. Years later when I moved to Potter County, they continued to be referred to as swamps. However, when I worked with the Planning Commission on zoning projects, the word “wetlands” came into play.
More new words followed, such as flood zones and flood insurance, after a few horrendous hurricanes. Today, planners struggle to keep buildings off of those old swamps. Both commercial and private housing developments are brought before planners, and unfortunately those swamps are filled in with rock and dirt.
As we learn more about wetlands, we realize they are extremely beneficial to both man and wildlife. Wetlands act as a sponge, and filter out all those impurities that would flow into our streams, rivers, bays and beyond.
But wildlife thrives in what we would consider harsh environments. I had my best day of photography in years when I visited a nearby “swamp.” In four hours, I photographed a female mallard and her ducklings, Canada geese parents and their young, a half dozen wood duck pairs, green and blue winged teal, and a good number of great egrets.
I was smiling from ear to ear, thinking, what else could I possibly see? I missed getting a good shot of a muskrat that swam by, but I spotted something in the reeds across from me. I was totally shocked to see one huge beaver! To make matters better, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a young beaver swimming toward me. Now, I was nearly trembling.
Now you can guess exactly what I was thinking when I saw this photo, and it starts with an ‘m’ and ends with a ‘t’. I wrote Dave this morning about my thoughts and he wrote back ASSURING me that it was a beaver, and when I pressed said that he got a look at the tail. I remain censorious. My doubts can be summed up with three points.
- face looks little like and pinched like a muskrat
- fur is sooo dark and wet. Beaver fur is better groomed and almost always dryer,
- The bottom of this animal rides low in water.
Also this article is from Harrisburg PA and it is wayyyy to early for that region to have young beaver. It is wayy to early for US to have a young beaver, but what do I know? We are still VERY HAPPY that he takes joy in a wetland and appreciates the wildlife it holds. For those of you wanting a refresher course on telling beaver and muskrat apart, here’s the beginners and the advanced course.
Here’s something very exciting jon photographed yesterday morning. This is far down stream, almost to the train bridge. I’m absolutely certain its not a muskrat making this: