Whenever the river is running high it is more difficult to find and photograph wildlife. Part of the reason is areas that were shallow and good fishing areas for wading birds are now deep under water. This weekend was one such a time.
When this happens I try and go to areas out of the main channels of the river, more into back bays and lagoons. But even these areas are about 5 feet deeper than normal and a lot of the wildlife gets displaced. One of the species that seems to do better under these conditions is beaver.
I was kayaking with a friend this weekend, and when Paul and I pulled into an area that is a small lagoon off the main channel of the river. As we were watching a female Black –crowned Night Heron (see blog “Where is Waldo?”), we heard the telltale splash of a beaver. After photographing the heron, we moved in the direction of the splash and saw a beaver swimming around. We got a few images and then it was gone. I went one direction and Paul went another looking to see if we could spot it again. I did find a beaver and turned to see Paul about 20 yards away photographing another beaver. We saw 3 different beaver in the area and made some nice pictures.
I particularly liked it when a beaver surfaced in the thick duckweed and came up with vegetation all over its head. It reminded me of the war movies you see when the marines rise up from the water in their full camouflage gear ready to attack. It was as if the beaver was trying to hide, wearing camouflage as it swam.
1/640 sec; f/10; exp comp -.67; ISO 1600; 500mm; hand held from a kayak
1/640 sec; f/10; exp comp -.67; ISO 640; 500mm; hand held from a kayak
The other critters that easier to spot when the river is up are the raptors in the area. That same day we had a pretty good encounter with a Red-shouldered Hawk and an Osprey. Except for these few encounters, it was fairly quiet out on the river, but it was a beautiful, sunny warm morning, so you won’t hear any complaints coming from me.
1/640 sec; f/10; exp comp -.67; ISO 640; 600mm; hand held from a kayak
1/640 sec; f/10; exp comp -.67; ISO 200; 600mm; hand held from a kayak