Only a few days ago we felt like we were melting as we complained about the muggies and buggies, but those temperatures are now only memories and it’s beginning to feel like fall in western Maine. And so my guy and I bundled up before we followed a trail and did some bushwhacking this morning, exploring a property Jinnie Mae and I had visited only a week and a half ago.
It was to the beaver lodge that we first made our way, noting all their old works near the water’s edge.
But, we were disappointed that we saw no evidence of new work and it didn’t appear any winter prep was yet occurring. Were the beavers still about? Or had some parasites in the lodge forced them to move on?
We hoped not for they’ve worked hard in the past to create a home with an infinity pool that would be the envy of many.
We did note that they’d had recent visitors who left behind a calling card in the form of a slide and scat–otter scat, that is.
And we spied the fruits of a former flower that graced their neighborhood–doll’s eye, aka white baneberry.
As we circled around the pool, we commented that the dam seemed to be in excellent shape and held the water about five feet above the stream below. But again, no evidence of new wood.
Despite that, it’s an impressive structure. While some landowners might be upset to have beavers changing the landscape, we happen to know this one and she takes great pride in their works.
We stood for a while, indulging in our own admiration while wondering where the beavers might be. Of course, it was close to lunch time for us, and not an active time for them if indeed they were home. Possibly we were misinterpreting the view.
After some time of quiet reflection, we made our way back, crossing the stream just below the dam.
And then we continued along the old logging road (recently bush hogged, eh Brian? Well done), and bushwhacked some more, crossing another stream to find our way to another reflective spot along the brook.
This time, our destination was that of another stick builder–great blue herons.
Their spring/early summer nests are equally impressive. I hadn’t visited this spot since April, when the herons were actively setting up home. And I’m not sure it was a successful breeding season for them, but even if it was, they wouldn’t have needed these homes today. The nests will remain–available for grabs next year by those who return.
After a snack by the brook, we pulled ourselves away knowing it was time to head to our own home. Our wildlife viewings had been nil, but we spied a jack-in-the-pulpit in fruit, and that plus the doll’s eye were enough. And the time spent wondering about the critters.
Back at our truck, we decided to check on the insect action in the gardens at our friend’s home. Only the bumblebees seemed to be active.
But we saw plenty of activity of another kind–a cache of hickory nut shells at the base of the tree, and really . . . everywhere nearby.
Shagbark hickory is more common south of this spot, so it was a treat to take a closer look.
Its alternate leaves are compound, consisting of five serrated leaflets usually (sometimes there are seven).
And of those five, the three terminal leaflets on each twig are the largest.
Once again, it was time to leave this beautiful spot where the fields and forest flow into the mountains. And where the beavers and heron share the place without too much human intervention. Though not a soul was home today, we trust all will return when the time is right.