What a splendid "dining room." It was so nice to be outside in the sun on such a beautiful day and hear only the sound of birds singing and the river flowing by (no cars, trucks, or planes to drown out the sounds of nature).
As I was picking up some of the trash left by previous visitors, I noticed something floating in the water--kind of a reddish-brown color. I wondered whether it was some old leaves but something didn't look quite right. As I watched, whatever it was floated over to the other bank. I grabbed my camera and binocs and walked a little farther down on my side trying to see what had happened to this object. Finally, there it was--a small Beaver!
Oh man, this was so exciting for me!! (made up for not seeing many warblers) While eating my lunch, I had noticed some signs of beavers along the river's edge (I couldn't remember seeing anything like this on previous visits to the park, so the beavers must be recent arrivals).
I was able to watch the little beaver for quite a long time -- I think he was eating some vegetation (at least that's what it looked like). I was amazed that even right after coming out of the water, his fur never appeared wet.
He didn't seem at all disturbed by my presence, even though he had to be able to see me right across the river from him (a distance of about 14 yards).
I spent so much extra time watching that beaver, that I was running late starting back to Rochester to pick up Mr. Johnson at work. I set the cruise control for 8 miles over the speed limit--because I've always heard the cops don't usually ticket if you're less than 10 miles over the speed limit.......
Oh yeah, I got pulled over! I knew I was busted as soon as I met that Highway Patrol car and watched him turn around in the gas station. I was hoping he had turned in for a fill-up, but when I saw those flashing red lights in the rearview mirror....well, I don't have to tell you what I said. So I just pulled over, rolled down my window and handed the nice officer my driver's license. Fortunately, I have a spotless driving record because I was worrying the whole time how much a fine was going to cut into my birding festival savings! The worst thing was having to call Mr. Johnson and tell him I was going to be late because I got pulled over for speeding!
So except for the State Patrol, it was a pretty fun day and here's my list of birds seen (or heard) during my 3 hours of playing hooky.
Eastern Wild Turkey
Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
Field Sparrow (heard)
Black & White Warbler
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
Downy Woodpecker (heard)