This warm record breaking January 2014 weather seems to be coaxing the beavers at Sutter's Landing out to bask in the sun during the afternoons. Normally they are seldom, if ever, seen durning daylight. Bring your binoculars and take a look at these elusive animals which we often detect by where they've been and what they did, but rarely see in person. Notice how colorful their fur is when it dry. I first saw two of them this year on MLK day when I noticed what looked like a furry stump in the water near the river bank. Even with my binoculars it looked like a stump because it remained motionless for nearly a half hour. It quietly slipped into the water and swam up river past the second one resting on a log and then went into it's den. Many more den entrances are now visible with such low water levels.
Tuesday Jan. 21st, our neighbor and her girls sent a text to say they saw five beavers! When I got there this was the only one still sunning. There was also a small group of common mergansers hunting and posturing near the beaver. The male mergansers have many attention getting signals such as making sudden loud splashes with their feet, tail raising and chest raising, see photos below. Another group were hunting down river, all together there were about twenty or more.
On Wednesday Jan. 22 afternoon, I saw the largest flock of meadowlarks I've seen this winter. They flitted and flew along the fence line of the mound and I guessed they numbered about thirty or forty.
It'll be interesting to see how the wildlife will fare at the Park this year, but they are survivors, especially with a little help from all their Friends of the River Banks. Please share your observations with FORB so we can all better understand the health and value of the Park and Parkway to wildlife, nature, and our enjoyment.
The best chance to see these beavers currently is to head upstream to the second trash can and look across the river from there. Good luck!