Diane Ross
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Algonquin Spring

I come to Algonquin almost every year at the end of May.  In May and June the moose come down to the highway because the pools of water near the road have a high salt content due to the road salt used during the winter months.

The last few years the black flies have been fierce at the end of May.  The moose have also been quite shaggy looking as they are loosing their winter coats.  So this year I decided to go up at the beginning of May.  I hoped to beat black fly season and catch the moose before they started to loose their winter coat.  Unfortunately the moose were already shaggy but at least there were no black flies.  Of course it did snow one day.

The truth is that the moose have become a bit old hat.  After years of coming to Algonquin I have tons of shaggy moose photographs.  Now, unless the moose is in a setting that I really like or is less shaggy than usual I don't even take pictures of it, although I do stop and watch for a while.

Something special happened this spring.  There was a family of beaver working on a dam near the road.  I first saw them at about 4:30 in the afternoon.  I took a lot of photos as they worked around the dam.  Until now I had no pictures of beaver so of course I had to go back everyday to try to get more photographs.   

Every time I drove by the dam I would look for the beaver but I never saw them at any other time of day.

The next afternoon I went back about 4:30 and caught the beaver just as they were leaving the dam.  The next afternoon I arrived about 4:15 with the same result.  The beaver just were not co-operating. 

The next day I got it right.  I got to the damn at 3:50.  The beaver arrived shortly after 4:00.  They hung out for about 1/2 hour. 

The next day, my last day in the park, I again arrived shortly before 4:00.  It was a beautiful day, blue sky and sunshine.  The rest of the week it had been overcast and threatening to rain.  The beaver teased me.  There was not a ripple on the water.  It was easy to spot them swimming on the far side of the pond.  I decided that I was not leaving as long as I could see a beaver on the pond.  I sat there for 45 minutes before a beaver came close enough to photograph.  My patience was well rewarded.  A large beaver came over the dam and swam around in a small pond 10 to 15 ft. away from me.  After deciding that I meant it no harm it swam within 5 to 10 ft. of me to get to a stream flowing by the road.  (All right, so it was the ditch beside the road. But doesn't stream sound better.)  He walked down the stream with me following close behind.  I don't think this made him terribly comfortable, but he was a brave little beaver who was used to having people look at him.  I got a few shots of him looking out through the reeds at the edge of the stream to make sure I wasn't getting to close.  He went down the stream, grabbed a branch that was close to the stream and hauled it back to the dam.  He pulled, and tugged, and jerked until he got it over the dam.  He then swam with it across the pond to his lodge.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip.