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Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:04 pm
by FireCloud
At 8:29 AM this morning this large waterbird took up a position at the break in the beaver dam to watch for any food passing over the dam. If any readers know what type crane this is, please post it.

- 258.jpg


Meanwhile, after a full week at the dam, I have yet to get even one photo of a beaver despite some work being done each night to repair the damage I keep inflicting on the dam. The camera is focused on the right spot and works fine, so the only thing I can figure out is maybe the beaver is not generating enough body heat difference with the water while swimming by to trigger the camera.

However, I have staked out the beaver pond for a few hours the past three evenings and was finally rewarded about 8:15 this evening with a brief look at one beaver. He came into view swimming downstream toward the dam but about 40 yards away from my position. I did not have a clear, unobstructed shot until about 25 yards out, so I waited in hopes he would swim closer. Instead, at about 30 yards out, he swam in a circle for a minute then disappeared. Despite sitting there for another hour and a half until 10 pm, I did not see him again. I suspect he has a den in the bank near where he disappered and simple went inside, as he never appeared alarmed nor did he apparently detect me but was just taking a happy swim.

I am hoping this is the only beaver at this pond at this point in time but he does appear to be a large, mature adult. I am actually hoping he will rebuild the dam solidly before I kill him, as I would like to keep the pond intact for the wildlife habitat benefit it produces. I just don't want this critter chewing down all my trees, flooding the land, or producing more beavers!

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:18 pm
by 204 ruger
Looks like a Blue Heron.

We call em Giddywhompers

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:20 pm
by FireCloud
204 ruger wrote:Looks like a Blue Heron.

We call em Giddywhompers


I was wondering if it could be a Blue Heron. Thanks for the info.

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:44 pm
by 204 ruger
Looks like you got fairly close to him or have a 300X lens. They are extremely cautious and most times you can't get within 100yds. We also have Heron decoys we use for duck hunting since they are a "confidence decoy".

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:41 pm
by FireCloud
204 ruger wrote:Looks like you got fairly close to him or have a 300X lens. They are extremely cautious and most times you can't get within 100yds. We also have Heron decoys we use for duck hunting since they are a "confidence decoy".


Nearly all the photos I post are from my cheap $50 Bushnell game camera. It has poor optics, low resolution capability, and no zoom lens. However, I have been a student of photography for about 40 years and my father was a prolific amateur photographer who helped me learn some of the tricks of the trade.

Photography is a lifetime art to learn and no one ever completely masters it. Camera placement, angle, the amount of available light, the angle of incoming light, and scene composition are all things to think about when setting up a fixed position camera like a game camera. I mounted my game camera about 10 feet from the breach in the beaver dam, which obviously would be where most the action would occur. Then I took a series of test shots at the site, viewed them on site, and made various adjustments to the camera height and angle until I was satisfied with what the camera would “see.” The blue heron in this photo is positioned perfectly with the entire bird clearly visible. It is standing about 7-8 feet from the camera so basically even a cheap camera will take a decent photo at that range and no zoom lens is needed. Getting a camera positioned close to the animals is one of the tricks to getting a much higher quality, more impressive photo.

For wildlife photography, I suggest mounting the game camera fairly low, typically about two feet off the ground. Most animals are less than four feet tall and if you mount the camera very high you will probably cut of the feet or lower sections of the animals and you can shoot right over smaller animals that may pass by close to the camera. I put a small stick behind the top of the camera to give it a very slight tilt downward which helps avoid shooting too high. This camera will not pick up anything closer than about 5 feet due to its fixed focal length and it has an effective distance of about 30 feet. Also, the camera “sees” in a triangle of sorts with its motion sensor so that is an unseen component that you need to consider when positioning the camera so that it will trigger correctly.

I do have two other cameras that take much better photos. I have a Nikon FE camera that shoots 35mm film with a 200X zoom that will do a fantastic job on wildlife photography. If I were doing serious wildlife photography for illustrations or similar work, that is the camera I would use. I also have a Canon 7 megapixel digital camera with a 40X zoom that does an above average job on wildlife photos. I have posted a few taken with that camera and the results are much better, of course. The photos I recently posted of some squirrels were all taken free handed shooting with the zoom at squirrels about 25 yards distant and up in the trees. I don’t recommend serious wildlife photography free handed but always suggest using a tripod.

The real trick of making wildlife or nature photography look good is to take a LOT of pictures and cull everything except the very best. A professional photographer never shows you the bad photos! They only show you the exceptional ones. But believe me, every professional photographer takes a lot of not so good photos. You just don’t get to see them. For the rainbow photo I posted today in another thread I took 31 shots just to get one suitable for posting. That photo was taken with the Canon digital but at low resolution. I did not have time to adjust the settings. Rainbows change by the minute and getting any decent photos requires you to snap pictures continuously while you have the chance.

Getting decent photos of nature and wildlife is a lot of work and sometimes you just need to be lucky. I was simply lucky the Blue Heron decided to stand in the perfect position long enough to get a shot of him. That was the ONLY photo of him I managed to get!

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:43 am
by gtk
cool pic.. i've heard those things can put a hurting on a pond's fish population.

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:01 am
by FireCloud
gtk wrote:cool pic.. i've heard those things can put a hurting on a pond's fish population.


Yep, they can do some damage to the fish population for sure. But there are no fish in Trehon Creek so they must be eating either tadpoles or crawfish here.

Re: Beaver Dam Visitor

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:55 pm
by 204 ruger
Didn't realize it was a trail cam, so that explains the closeness of the pic.

Had a friend stock his pond for several hundred $$ only to come out the next day and had three of them eating from the buffet. He was not happy as he chased them off for the next few days.