Odds an ends OR lauds and friends?

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 22 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

I’ve been hard at work knitting together my video presentation for Marin Audubon next month. It’s coming along well enough, but the job gives me a chance for some odds and ends housekeeping. The first is showing you the lovely shout out from our friends at Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre in Canada. Director Donna Dubreuil has been a true beaver friend these past years, and she is a big friend of beavers. Nice to see Martinez discussed from 2881 miles away. It may take a moment to load, but believe me it’s worth waiting for. You can use the plus button to zoom closer and read the completely unnecessary praise. (Although I do like the part where she calls me a spark plug.) :-) Thanks Donna!

Yesterday I heard from author of the much anticipated (and yet untitled) beaver book Ben Goldfarb, who just finished a stay with Louise and Paul Ramsay in their lovely beaver retreat in Bamff! He snapped this  while he was their enjoying their hospitality and has lots big ideas for the European chapter. He says he also enjoyed hanging out with Derek Gow in Devon and exploring beaver sites on the river Otter, as well as visiting the Knapale trial.

Jealous yet?


Beaver through the Spotting Scope: Ben Goldfarb

Finally I heard from Chris Scarf, the very kind website wizard from San Francisco who helped us recently, and is back from his trip with the Dromedary Camels in Mongolia. For a change of pace he recently jaunted with his wife over to photograph some beavers in Napa. Here is the lovely photo he has to show for his efforts.

American Beaver. Natures engineers, this family lived downtown Napa. Right next to a hotel and main road, they built a small dam which cause a small pond to form. That pond provided life for all kinds of other birds, fish, turtles, otters, muskrats, mink and other critters. Napa, California May 2017

Rusty has been happy to see the pond get busier. Yesterday he captured another beautiful Great Blue heron photo at just the right moment as the bird took off in flight.


GBH leaving the beaver pond: Rusty Cohn

Artfully done

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 21 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

It’s Sunday, and there’s so much good news to share I’ll be choosy and just show you the very best for now. First there is a nice article following Mike Callahan’s beaver presentation Smyrski Farm owned by the Weatinoge Land Trust.

Maybe the fierce-eyed bald eagle is the national symbo, but beavers — those social, endlessly industrious homebodies — fired the exploration of North America more than any other creature. To get their pelts, traders and trappers moved across the continent years ahead of any settlers.

“They make drastic changes to the landscape,” said Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions, a Massachusetts-based company dedicated to helping beavers and humans peacefully coexist. “Usually for the better.”

As with the other large mammals that have found the state to their liking — white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote — humans now have to learn to live with beaver. Gone from Connecticut for at least a century and a half, they’re back in force, slapping tails, damming streams, sometimes flooding back yards.

“Native Americans called them ‘little people’ because other than humans, no other animal changes the environment so much,” Callahan said.

When beavers build a dam, that makes a pond. That makes an open habitat in the middle of the woods, where aquatic plants, fish, waterfowl, muskrat and mink can all thrive.

“They’re really great at creating an awesome heterogeneous landscape with lots of biodiversity,” said Mike Jastremski, watershed conservation director for the Housatonic Valley Association.

Beaver ponds help regulate downstream flooding with the newly created wetlands soaking up rain water like a giant sponge.

After a time, when the beavers vacate the premises, the dam deteriorates, the pond flows away, and you’ve got a new habitat — a woodland meadow. A new set of species adapts to that. Eventually, when that meadows grows back to woods, beavers can return.

Callahan now makes his living installing systems to let people and beavers coexist. The only other option is trapping and killing them. There are too many beavers in the state to relocate them.

“They used to move them to somewhere else,” Josephson of the Naromi Land Trust said. “Now, there is nowhere else.”

“They’re sort of like mice,” said Marge Josephson, president of the Naromi Land Trust in Sherman. “If you see one mouse in your house, it means you’ve got a lot of mice. If you see one beaver, you’ve got more than one.”

Hurray for Mike, traveling between states to spread the beaver gospel with other land trusts.  Clearly Mr. Jamstremski did his homework on the topic and understands why all this all matters. We’re not so sure about Marge (who needs politely reminding that its not generally a good idea to remind listeners that beavers are like mice in their house!)


My mailbox has been ringing with donations all week for our silent auction at the beaver festival, but I’m going to start with the watercolor prints by Robert Mancini  of Melbourne Australia.

He is a truly talented artist  that works to capture the natural world with his prodigious gift. I still can’t believe how generous he was with us.  Obviously his beaver painting got my attention first, but I was thrilled to see the many others he included, of which these are just a sample., all signed and on quality paper. Go look at his website to see how talented he truly is. Thank you Rob, for your generous support of beavers!





That’s great, just great!

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 20 - 2017Comments Off on That’s great, just great!

pinfeathers GBH

Recently we’ve been having a bit of discussion about the Great Blue Heron. It started when I asked the artist to make the tattoo of the heron ‘bluer’ so that’s it clear what it is. She responded that it is often more gray than blue, which is true. But our project needs his bluest moments.  Sibley’s points out it even has a white morph that looks more like an egret. Nevertheless, I persisted. In preparation for our awesome nature journals Jon and I carved 170 sticks with beaver chews for the bindings  this week at my parents property in the sierra foothills. It’s going to be wonderful!

Meanwhile, Rusty Cohn of Napa captured the perfect moments yesterday, with more proof that beavers are great blue heron helpers.


GBH and Beaver: Rusty Cohn


GBH and beaver swimming: Rusty Cohn










The Great Blue Heron is there to eat the fish, which are there to eat the invertebrates, which are there because of the beaver dam and constant digging in the mud. It’s what makes articles like this possible.

Beavers save Great Blue Heron nesting ground

Beavers and Great Blue Herons might seem like unlikely bedfellows, but a recent beaver-led construction project on the grounds of a nature center in New York is proving yet again that symbiosis can be oh so satisfying.

The forested grounds of Sterling Nature Center, nestled along the shore of Lake Ontario in Sterling, NY has long been a haven for local wildlife and nature-lovers. It wasn’t until the early 1990s however, when group of beavers settled along a creek there and constructed a dam, that the park would welcome its most popular inhabitants — dozens of Great Blue Herons.

As it turns out, the 80-acre pond and defoliated trees which resulted from the beaver dam created an ideal fishing ground for the birds, and as many as 65 herons chose the spot to hatch their young. The beavers were happy; the birds were happy; and, thanks to the crowds they drew, the nature center was happy too.

This is just the time we’d see Great Blue Herons at our beaver ponds, because it’s summertime and the living is easy. Which animals are visiting the beaver pond near you? You better go see for yourself.