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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 13- Last Day @ Cook's Lake/ Survival Skills/Beaver Watching

Weather: Sunny and Windy
Temperature: 30s-50s

Today was our last day at Cook's Lake. We were a little bit sad about this, I have to say. Lucky for us although it was very cold, it was blue sky and sunny!

We hiked into the cottage and checked our traps. While I was walking down to check them, I saw a little piece of fur stuck in some pricker bushes...evidence that an animal had been here overnight. I picked it out of the thorns and as soon as I felt it I knew it must be a snowshoe hare. Dr. Christina confirmed this. Here is a picture of it:
Snowshoe Hare Fur

This time when we checked our traps we had 1 pregnant vole ( a new one!) and 1 male vole. It seems that there may be 3 pregnant voles in this area! Pretty cool that the population for the spring is off to a good start.

Pregnant Female

After checking our traps we headed back to East Port Medway to see if we had caught anything with our camera traps. We were able to say hello to the horses again too.

Rocky and Amber

None of us had anything except for the trap that Dr. Chris has placed at the compost pile in back of the accommodations. Any idea what we could have caught? Well here it is (disregard the date and time on the photo- we don't update that when we setup the camera because it uses up the battery):


I think that we were all a bit disappointed that we didn't catch anything with our own traps :( Oh well just a signal that it might not yet be the most active time for some of the mammals here yet.

We headed back to the accommodations for some time with Dr. Chris on Survival Skills. It was interesting because he taught us a way to start a fire using sticks as well as how to build a spring trap.

Fire Starting!

Spring Traps

At this point I'm not sure that I would be a completely reliable person in a situation where a trap might be needed, but at least I would have an idea of what we'd need to do!

We decided that since it was so nice outside, we'd go for a walk in Cherry Hill and check it out. The ocean was soooo nice today! It was cool to see the waves break on the shoreline, eroding the rocks till they were nice and smooth- they looked like dinosaur eggs!

Dinosaur Eggs

As the waves recede back into the ocean, they make a really neat sound. I took a video so I hope you are able to hear them.


Cherry Hill (as I think I've mentioned before) is a tiny fishing community on the Atlantic. Most homes here have evidence of this.. either boats or lobster traps are on their property. I have uploaded some pictures here of this so you can see what its like. Its very serious business here.
Lobster Boat

Lobster Traps
Finally we had an evening that was suitable for going to watch beavers at a lodge not too far away from where we were staying. We bundled up and off we went, binoculars in hand, to see what we could see. Here is a picture of the lodge (before the sun went down) that we were watching.
The Beaver Lodge

We settled in on a bench at the side of the wetland and waited. We had to be completely still and absolutely quiet while we were there. Beavers are sensitive to noise and if they determine the are to be unsafe, they will go inside of their lodge and not come out!

The first thing we saw swimming across in front of us was a muskrat. These little guys look like pretty flat creatures while they swim. They are smaller in size than a beaver but they actually share the beaver lodge with the beavers. I had no idea they did that! Here is a picture of what a muskrat and a beaver look like. Their tails are what you can use to tell them apart. When they are swimming a muskrat's tail goes back and forth like a snake in water while a beaver's tail is pretty flat (although a beaver's body is pretty big and obvious!).



After the muskrat swam into the lodge we started to see activities of the beavers as they came out for their evening activities. We ended up seeing the 2 adults (male and female) as well as the 2 cubs from last year. Apparently beaver cubs stay in the lodge until they are two years old. Sometimes they are kicked out after one year, but these look like they were still a part of the family life at the lodge. It was really nice to watch them swimming along. Here is a picture of the two adults swimming. Its really hard to see them but they are the 2 dark spots in the water.

Swimming Beavers

This was a great finale for our last day in the field! We are so lucky the weather cooperated with us so we were able to observe them and not freeze! I am excited for tomorrow though, we will be heading off to Kejimkujik's seaside adjunct to hopefully see some ocean mammals. We've been told there are a lot of seals there... I can't wait!