Whenever I kayak, I always hope I’ll see wildlife, but honestly just being on the water is enough for me. It’s so calming to float along, watching the shoreline and the clouds overhead.
Then there are the days where I’m paddling along, taking in all the sights, when I suddenly see something swimming in the water or walking across the shoreline. When that happens, I drop the paddle across my lap and lift the camera to my eye.
Oh my goodness! It’s a beaver!
I’ve seen beavers swimming, and heard them slap their tails, warning me away. But I’d never seen one out of the water with my own eyes. Normally they are nocturnal, doing their business at night. When I’ve come across beavers in the daytime, they’re shy, ducking under the water. I read that they can swim under water for up to 15 minutes! When they swim, their nose and ears shut to keep the water out.
This one though, gave me a quick look and kept on feeding.
Perhaps it was more relaxed because I came along just after sunrise. Or it had become used to people on our quiet lake. Or maybe, I was far enough away that it wasn’t worried. (I was using my 600mm lens to follow it.) Whatever the reason, I was able to watch it forage for twenty minutes. What fun!
The beaver slipped into the water to swim along the shoreline and I focused my camera on him, expecting to get the big tail slap warning.
Instead, it crawled out onto the banking, showing off its tail, and munching on shoreline foliage.
Eventually, it slipped back into the water to keep nibbling on the breakfast it had collected.
I had to look it up, and I found that beavers eat leaves, roots and bark from aspens, willows, maples and poplar trees. They also eat aquatic plants.
I hope I come across him again some day. My experience documenting his diet habits, was fun!