Friday, December 30, 2011

Some Beaver Activity on the Lamprey River Floodplain

After exploring Rock Rimmon Hill on Tuesday, I took a quick detour before going home. There is a small parking area off from Route 87 in Epping, right next to its junction with Jacobs Well Road. The parking area meanders down next to a bridge over the Lamprey River. For years, I thought this parking area was for fisherman to use as a mini boat launch for canoes and kayaks. However, recently, I've noticed a small trail that runs parallel to the river when I drive by. Again, I figured this was just a small foot path for fisherman, but figured I would check it out anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually a path put in place and protected by Southeast Land Trust and the Lamprey River Watershed Association. 

 The Kiosk at the Parking Area

The Path

The kiosk at the parking area was pretty informative and gave some information about the ecosystem that took residence in this specific floodplain. There were two small, wooden boxes which looked like they held pamphlets or maps for visitors, but there were none there. I headed up the path and it seemed to follow the Lamprey River's winding banks. It wasn't long before I saw a ton of beaver activity. There were pointed tree stumps everywhere and there seemed to be many trees with fresh teeth marks. I'm not sure why, but I love finding beaver wood chips. I know they can be a nuisance, but I find these small creatures to be delightful. I've never run into one in nature before, but hope to someday. 

The Lamprey River from its Banks

One of the five stations...#2

Some Berries

Along the path, there were five station markers (marked 1-5) which I'm assuming went with the pamphlets or information that was originally provided at the kiosk. I can only imagine that this information explained the mechanics behind the floodplain terrain and possibly explained some of the vegetation in the area. I looked online for a bit to see if I could find an older PDF of what may have been supplied, but came up with nothing.

Beaver Activity

More Beaver Activity

Cool fungus growing from an old tree branch on the ground

Along the way, there were small pools of water that had frozen over, even though the river was running free. I was able to see a couple Eastern Bluebirds playing (not sure why they aren't south now!) and a few woodpeckers looking for a meal in some dead trees. I also noticed footprints over some slushy ice, most likely a chipmunk or squirrel I assume.

They Lamprey River from its Banks

Eastern Bluebird Playing

Finally, on my way out, I spotted some green near the path. These green leaves appeared to be a violet plant. I'm not sure why a plant like this is still green and seemingly, doing well in the colder weather.

An old beaver stump with scrub growing up it

What I believe are squirrel or chipmunk tracks

What I believe is a violet plant, still green in the cold weather

I thought this was really a cool little find. It was by no means a "hike", as the path was only 1/4 mile long at best. But there was a lot to notice, even in this winter month. I can only imagine how beautiful and vibrant this ecosystem is in the spring and summer months. I assume it is filled with wildflowers and birds. I will surely head back to check it out in April or May.



  1. You won't forget the first time a beaver slaps the water with his tail because you got too close! It's very surprising and will scare the bejeebers out of you if you aren't aware of it.

    Great pics and nice find. Looks like a little gem. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Nice little trip - I love the fact that you found all sorts of interesting things. We sometimes get the mind set that winter is "dead" and there's not much to see, but you've found plenty. The fungus is certainly cool, according to my N. American Mushroom Guide, it most likely is a Little Nest Polypore. The guide says that you'll see from June-Nov. and that is does overwinter; grows on elm and other deciduous wood.

  3. Wow, in this hike you saw birds that didn't go south and green plants! Is our ecosystem telling us that winter is canceled this year and spring is starting early?

  4. Hi Casey - Thanks! I hope to see a beaver someday in nature. I think they are really amazing creatures to be able to take down large trees the way they do. Many in my area think they are nuisances for understandable reasons.

    Hi Summerset - Thanks for the info Summerset! I need to get a mushroom guide. I have one for wildflowers, but mushrooms are just as interesting to me.

    Hi Grant - I agree...winter is starting waaaayyyy too late this year...which most likely means it will hang around much longer too. Let's hope not!

    Hi Stephanie - Thanks, I thought it was a cool photo. These types of mushrooms are never that picturesque, but this one seemed to be.

  5. I so like to watch this view. I am so happy to saw this place from your post. Moreover, The Landscaping Services in Sacramento CA deliver the quality work under the professional team.