Tag Archives: beaver

Oregon Coast Wildlife

The Waldport Osprey chicks are growing fast.

osprey feeding chicks
Osprey brings home the bacon

These young male Mallards will be in full color before you know it.

Young male mallards getting their colors
Young male mallards getting their colors

Pileated Woodpecker finds some grub in the dead tree.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

I spotted the first elk calf of the season!!

elk calf
First elk calf of the season!

I love seeing the ducks with so many chicks.  I can’t imagine how the mom keeps up with them all.

Mallard hen with 11 chicks
Mallard hen with 11 chicks

Can you tell what kind of critter tracks these are in the next photo?

critter tracks
Critter tracks: otters and what else?

There were just otter tracks when I first looked.  But then I caught a second culprit.

beaver
Beaver going to get him a blackberry vine

I didn’t know beavers ate blackberry vines but that’s what it went up to get.  It brought it back down to the water’s edge to eat it.  Watch 2 beavers in this video:

[youtube https://youtu.be/i22D5cZIj2E]

The kingfisher kids are learning how to fish.  Mom and Dad still bring them food though – so they can keep up their strength until they get better at it.

3 kingfishers
3 Kingfisher chicks waiting for breakfast
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Mr. Beaver

Mr Beaver stopped to have a nibble on the Alsea riverbank.

alsea river beaver
Alsea River Beaver

Watch him in the video as he swims away on the surface and then dives.

[youtube https://youtu.be/L7QZW6EboHw]

OSU’s Benny the Beaver has a brother

OSU’s Benny the Beaver greets new and old friends as students get ready for the new school year.  But did you know that Benny has a brother on the Oregon Coast?  Yup, just down Highway 34!

Benny Beaver’s brother, Billy, lives near (you guessed it) Blackberry Campground; near milepost 18 on the Alsea River.

beaver in alsea river
Billy Beaver

Beavers don’t make much noise so you have to be watching for them.  Early morning or late evening hours are the best time to see them.  We’d seen signs they were in the area for a few days:  bark-stripped sticks floating down the river.  We could also see waves in the water coming from something bigger than a fish on the other side of the river.  Then we saw him lazily swimming upriver yesterday and today.

What’s to see when it’s foggy on the Central Oregon Coast?

It is always cooler on the coast than it is in the Willamette Valley (I-5 corridor from Portland to Eugene).  Many times, when it’s hot in the “valley”, it will be foggy on the coast.

Although it’s not the best time for whale watching there’s plenty to see on the Central Oregon Coast when it’s foggy; as long as you don’t focus on the fog.

Bray's Point on Hwy 101 - Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside
Bray’s Point on Hwy 101 – Overlooking Bob Creek Wayside

If I am standing in the fog, I like to get my “head out of the clouds” and go for a drive on Hwy 101.

Bray's Point - Hwy 101 - looking south
Bray’s Point – Hwy 101 – looking south

Most of the time, the fog is patchy along the Oregon coast.  As the highway rises, we climb out of the fog to enjoy azure blue skies and the warmth of the sun.  Hiking in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a great option – but today we’re going to Florence for groceries and fuel (the cheapest fuel in Oregon).

Cormorants and Common Murre Nests
Cormorants and Common Murre Nests

We stopped at the overlook of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Sea Lion Caves, on this foggy morning.  We could not see the lighthouse until we drove back by later in the afternoon.  But I enjoy seeing how the cormorant chicks are growing.  The chicks aren’t as dark and shiny-black as their parents.  The common murres are still there but I can’t tell if any of these are chicks.

Beaver in the Alsea River
Beaver in the Alsea River

Of course, there’s always the option of driving inland, up a river, for other un-foggy options.  This photo was taken near Blackberry Campground, 18 miles east of Waldport.

Elk herd with this year's calves
Elk herd with this year’s calves

The elk calves still have their spots and feed in open fields with the rest of the herd.

Sassy Elk Calf
Sassy Elk Calf

I’m not sure if the cow on the left is the mom but she’s not happy with the calf (ears down).  And the calf is talking to her (mouth open).

Beavers are Back!

I used a proven wildlife viewing technique as I looked over the Alsea River this morning:  If something looks out-of-place, look closer.

Beaver Chewing
Beaver Chewing

Down-river, under dark cover, I could see something white bobbing in the water near the shore.  But it wasn’t bobbing at a rate that was consistent with the movement of the river.  So I zoomed in and caught the beaver munching!

Beaver Swimming
Tell-Tail Sign

Without anything to compare his size to, I can’t always tell if it’s a beaver or a nutria.  But I can see the outline of his tail so it is for sure a beaver!

Beaver Swimming
Bye-bye Beaver

I sure hope they bring their kits out to show me sometime!

Mallard and Beaver
Mallard keeps his distance from the Beav’

The duck was something else that looked out-of-place before it moved to this spot.  He was sitting between 2 rocks and his dark head just looked like a stick in an odd place in the river.  The next time I looked in that direction, this stick had legs.

Beaver Expose’

I’m still enjoying watching the beaver family from our deck overlooking the Alsea River.

4 beavers
4 beavers in this family

The most I’ve seen at one time is 4.  I believe that’s all there is in this family.  I’ve been reading up on beaver behavior:

http://www.beaversww.org/beavers-and-wetlands/about-beavers/

How do you eat your corn-on-the-cob?
How do you eat your corn-on-the-cob?

Beavers have from 1 to 6 kits per pregnancy; one pregnancy per year.  The more food that is available, the more kits she’ll have.

The young stay with the parents for 2 years, then they go off to find a mate and establish their own territory.

They will not overpopulate an area because they will chase others away from theirs.

beavers store logs underwater
Storing logs for later

They store the branches underwater.  This part of the river is out of the main flow of current.  But the level is affected by the tide.

Somehow they are anchoring the branches so they don’t float away when the water gets high.  They are pretty good engineers!

Lady and the Tramp - Oregon-beaver-style
Lady and the Tramp – Oregon-beaver-style

Beavers mate for life.  I’ve noticed a consistent behavior over the last weeks that I’m going to speculate on (so feel free to comment if you speculate, or know, differently).

As soon as it gets light enough for me to see them out my window, I am watching them.  The four feed independently.  At one point, seeming to be associated with how light it is, 3 beavers swim away.  Sometimes one signals with a splash.  But one always stays longer than the others.  Sometimes one comes back to feed some more.  I’m guessing the largest one is the female.  She’s probably pregnant and needs more to eat.  With all this food, maybe she’ll have 6 kits?

I think Dad puts the kids to bed so Mom can finish eating.  If they are good little kitties and go right to sleep, he comes back out for some alone-time with Mom.

beaver eating bark
20 minutes from start to finish

I’m guessing on their size: from nose to tip of the tail, she might be 4 feet?

This branch is probably 3 – 3.5 feet and 1.5″ –  2″ in diameter?