Down the Brook

Part 2

As we travel down the brook, we come to a beaver house, some more boulders, and a beaver dam.  The beavers like to build houses that have a portion above water and a portion below water.  So, they build a dam.  The dam turned more than a acre of land from swamp to pond.  If you look back at part 1, you will see where the current has prevented the freezing of the ice.  But, before the beaver dam, there was no water beside the stream.  It was just wetland, or mud with high grass.  The dam has turned the whole area into a pond.  Now, it is the home of ducks, geese and the great blue heron.

This is the beaver house.  As you approach, it looks like just a pile of old branches.  As you get closer, it becomes obvious that this is not just a pile of brush.  There is mud holding the branches together.

As you pass around the tree and the house, you can see that the branches are intertwined.  There are even small rocks mixed with the branches and mud.  The front door is between the two large rocks just below the water.

Now, we move on to the dam.  Before the beavers, this was a small road, or path with a stone bridge.  The beavers built up the path by about a foot and then filled in the stone bridge.  The result is a dam.

As viewed from the side, it can be seen that the dam is a collection of branches, mud and rocks.  There are even a few trees in the pile.  The dam does allow some water to pass.  The lack of ice is just above the leak.  Water can be seen on the other side of the dam.

The size of the pond can be seen in this picture.  The pictures from part 1 were taken from the other side of the pond.

I cannot resist taking pictures of boulders.  Between the beaver house and the dam, there is a stone wall and some small boulders.  The stone wall becomes large at the boulders.

This is the stone wall at the boulders.  The pile of small stones is about three feet high and five feet wide.  This was probably the result of field clearing.

This picture was taken from on top of the pile.  There is nothing significant about the boulders except for their location with respect to the beaver house and dam.

A few weeks passed since the pictures above were taken.  There was a heavy rainstorm followed by snow melt.  The result was a flood.  You can see this in "Down the Brook 1"  After the flood, the water level was about a foot lower.  If you go back to the first picture on this page, you can see the difference.  There is a tree cut down near the center of the picture below.  To the left of the tree is a break in the dam, which is not clearly visible.  The boulder shows the previous water level.

The front door of the beaver house is now clearly visible.

I almost stepped into the back door.  It is about a foot in diameter and just behind where I was standing to take this picture.

Here is the dam.  The break is about half way between the fallen tree and the edge of the dam.  The tree was probably cut by the beavers to make repairs.

This is the actual break in the dam.

And this is the water that is flowing on to the next swamp.

Next to the dam, I found something very unusual.  These woods are full of animals.  They are as small as field mice and as large as deer.  It is very rare to find a dead animal or any trace of dead animals.  I found the bones of what appears to be a deer.  I must have walked over these bones when I took the previous pictures.  Normally, dead animals are eaten by creatures like coyotes and turkey vultures.

A week passed since the pictures above were taken and the water level rose to its previous levels.  I decided to check the dam and found that it had been repaired.  I could not get to the position where I had taken the previous photos because it was too wet.

The dam is still leaking.

And there is torrential waters flowing past the dam.

I had not seen this in the previous two visits.  Another back door!

There is a prediction of 3 to 6 inches of rain over the next two days.  I wonder if the dam will survive!

The prediction of 3 to 6 inches turned into 6 to 9 inches.  No, the dam did not survive!  There was a big, deep hole where the water raged through.

A close-up shows the torrent of water going over the space that once was the dam.

And the water went flowing into the swamp.

As I stood watching the water flow over the dam, I looked up and noticed that I was not the only one looking at the broken dam.  I took about a dozen pictures of this furry little creature, and these were the best.  They were all blurred, probably because I was cold and shivering in the below freezing weather.

And the beaver swam away!

I wonder how long it will take to rebuild the dam.  They are, after all, busy little beavers!

It has been five days since the picture above was taken.  From across the pond, the water still looks below normal.


The dam has been partially repaired, but there is still more work to be done.

Nevertheless, the pond still looks good.