Thursday, June 3, 2010

Owls, Beavers, Fire

Part 1: OWLS

Yesterday was one of the more exciting days of wildlife viewing for Wayne and me. After dinner with friends at a local barbecue restaurant, we drove to a spot where we knew there was a great horned owl nest. We had good views of the nest with its two owlets' fuzzy heads as well as the mother keeping watch from a nearby branch. These are big owls with hearty appetites. They take prey including rabbits, mice, squirrels, skunks, birds, fish and small pets (dogs and cats.) Several years ago one of my friends let her dog outside at night and it was carried off by a great horned owl who dropped it, probably because it was a little too heavy for the owl. With its leg broken, the dog made its way back to their front porch where my friend found it, bloody and quivering with fright, the next morning. The vet showed my friend the talon wounds on its back. The dog recovered but declined to go outside voluntarily afterwards.

After leaving the owl nest we drove to observe any beaver activity at the ponds on Fish Creek. The female was swimming in the pond around the lodge while the male, downstream a bit, was busy gnawing on a fair sized aspen. He seemed unconcerned by the audience and took occasional breaks to swim in the creek and eat bark and twig snacks. It was a lovely evening so we stayed on the roadside taking photos and chatting with other observers for over an hour. There was speculation about which way the tree would fall when, suddenly, the male beaver dived into the creek and a split second later the tree toppled onto the power lines along the road.

Part 3: FIRE
There were several loud booms accompanied by fire, smoke and showers of sparks as we scrambled away from the tree and power lines. The tree continued to burn where it rested on the wires. I called 911 and we stayed until several fire, electric company, and sheriff responders arrived. I plan to go over there today and see what has become of the tree.

beaver lodge and pond

1 comment:

  1. Very ineresting story and lovely pictures. Congratulations!