Paddling a Beaver Trail within the Trossachs

March 20, 2019

Over the past few years there has been increased beaver activity within the National Park. They are clearly migrating deeper into the park, utilising the quieter waterways, rivers and lochs, perhaps descending southwards from the River Dochart via Loch Tay and of course the River Tay where many populations reside. Of course, they too may have travelled westwards from Loch Earn via the River Earn where it too is known for much activity.

 

 

Beavers are known to travel over land and can do so for many miles in search of new territory, so it is not surprising that they are choosing some of the quieter reaches of the park to set up home. We are very fortunate to live near an area of water where over the past six months there has been an enormous amount of beaver activity. It is always exciting to venture out in the canoe and see what they have been up to next and how far. Evidence of activity is not difficult to detect, felled trees, pencil point ends on branches, feeding sites, lodges and of course their poo! Their scat can be found in the water floating in eddie currents, trapped in vegetation or on shore edges, however not so evident on land. Scats are identified by their light brown egg-shaped appearance, an inch long and 2/3-inch-wide and containing fine wood chips and fibres.

 

Most of the trees that are being felled by beavers and de-limbed are Alder which are predominant on the river bank and this appears to be their main diet here. This was clear in the pic above. A recently felled Alder with much of the bark removed in situ.

The top pic above is the remains of a tree that has had a limb removed and what is left are the wood chips and a rather sharp pointed end. The limb itself would have been dragged away over the water, possibly taken back to the nearby lodge or to a bankside feeding site. When paddling further upstream, I came across the lodge.

 

This was first constructed under the water a good few months ago and has now extended onto the riverbank standing over a metre tall. The lodge here was constructed of tree limbs and mud. Quite impressive architecture.

 

The beavers are clearly at home here utilising this quiet waterway, however they are not the only ones, there are otters present too. I aim to stay out a few evenings and watch out for them so will keep you posted as to any sightings!

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