July 24, 2018
ducklings and goose
Frank and I walked the northern trail of Whitefish Island. We saw three beaver lodges, as well as all the other aquatics that live around the pond. There’s a large number of Canada geese and various ducks that make the beaver pond their home. And given that we were walking in early evening, many of the ducks were finding their way to sleeping areas. (i assumed ducks slept on the shore, but these three were snuggling on the large rock)
There are three beaver dams lower in the channel, but I wasn’t sure about the beavers, because there are very few large trees on the island and I thought that a pond covered in lily-pads could suggest no beaver. Not true.
Water lilies are one of their favorite foods, and through both consumption of the water lilies and construction of wetland habitats, beavers help support water lily populations. This is how John Eastman puts it in The Book of Swamp and Bog: “Beavers relish [water lilies], sometimes storing the rhizomes. Their damming activities create water lily habitat, and they widely disperse the plants by dropping rhizome fragments hither and yon.” 1
The lodges have weeds growing on them which suggests that they’ve been here for a while. In a large pond, one beaver family can maintain several lodges; the group here has three.
There were two surprises – the chipmunks on the trails seemed to have no fear of people, as a matter of fact they kept approaching us and approaching us. Because many walkers feed them, they were expecting us to do the same. And people also feed the ducks and geese, so when they saw us walk by, they made a beeline to the shore. Of the two wild animals expecting food, the chipmunks were the most startling.