I’ve been planning to live to be 150. That’s years, I’m talking about. When biologists recently confirmed we are physiologically made to last at least 200 years, I upped my goal accordingly.
Yet, on the day I saw my first wild beaver in my neighborhood creek, I felt my life was complete! The beaver-spotting passion has taken hold, closely matching how I feel about cats.
Not everyone has a chance to spot the beavers, even when they are out early enough.
For the benefit of other creek trail walkers, I posted my best shots on my website (at this link) and wrote a blog about my first sighting (at this link).I made little flyers which I give to anyone who asks how the beaver photography is going. I’ve given out over 50 as of this writing.
We’ve become a beaver social network. Those I meet on the trail report what they’ve seen and where; we compare notes. Our discussions explore how many luxury-pelted residents we think are gracing our creek. We believe there may be three colonies. A small twig dam that went up overnight suggests a fourth family may be staking out territory.
I know a few names of the trail walkers. Mostly I know them by their dogs. The expert on steelhead trout has a brown German pointer. The couple with the inspiring smiles have two dogs – the larger is a fluffy white German shepherd who wears a pink neckerchief supporting a local charity. One group walks a striking large dog who looks half wolf. Two walkers escort Grace, a black German shepherd, who head-bumps for ear rubs.
Recently, the family of Copper (part pit bull) and Gigi (border collie/Australian shepherd) told me about a beaver-naming contest created by the South Bay Clean Creeks Coalition (SBCCC). The notice appeared in The Campbell Reporter. I picked up a copy.
I sent SBCCC the link to my folder of beaver photos and blog post, suggesting some names based on what I’ve seen. Scallop Tail (left), who lives in the South Third of the creek, has a piece missing from the right edge of his tail.
His cousin Bulrush (seen here on the right during some onshore grooming), lives in the North Third and has a perfectly oval tail. I could call him Round Tail, but I like Bulrush better.
Another beaver is a single light brown color, without the wide cream stripe on each cheek. I’ve been calling her Cinnamon.
I couldn’t suggest Kit Carson as the name for the beaver kit (baby), because Carson was a mountain man. He was one of the many fur trappers who brought down the population of our wonderful beavers in the early 1800’s. In fact, our beavers’ warm, luxuriant pelts and their water-proof oil are the reason for the early expansion of the West even before the California Gold Rush — but this tangent belongs in another blog post.
I then contacted the editor of The Campbell Reporter to introduce myself. I told him I photograph the beavers every morning on my daily walk. I shared the links to my beaver photos and blog. I asked him to let me know if he’d ever like to publish any of them.
Two weeks later I got a call from one of his reporters. I thought she wanted to do a story on the beavers and use some of my photos. Instead, she said the editor wanted her to do a story about ME! She wanted to meet for coffee and have me to tell her about being an animal photographer and an animal blogger.
Now: Are there many things quite as much fun as being able to share your favorite details about how you got to where you are today and have a dedicated audience who listens carefully to every word you share? The most supportive friends and family members may be hard-pressed to give you their undivided, uninterruptive attention for an entire hour. Once excited, I can talk really quickly, so the reporter got 90 minutes of material in the 60-minute time slot.
Equally fun was going out on the creek with the newspaper’s staff photographer, who photographed me photographing the beavers. How cool was that?
So, yes: I’m confirming my plan to live to be 200. Think of how many beavers I’ll have seen by then. Think of how many other unimaginably wonderful things, like being in this newspaper article, will have happened.
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P.S. If the text of the article shown on this blog is too small to read, try this link at the Mercury News.
More beaver photos: Creek Beavers
My website: www.JulieKitzenberger.com
Blog about my first sighting: “An Urban Beaver Plies Its Trade”
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