Laurel Creek (5/8/2022)

Today I went to find beavers! I learned from a fellow CalNat classmate that they can be SEEN, along with their dams and lodges in Fairfield in Laurel Creek. I now had a reason to go visit Fairfield! And, since I had rehearsal in Berkeley this afternoon, it seemed like a perfect late afternoon Naturing adventure.

My classmate Elizabeth pointed me (and some other interested classmates) to a web site ( where a “Beaver Walk” map could be obtained! I printed it out and used it as my guide. She also informed me that they are crepuscular and the Gulf Dam was currently a good location right now. She’d even seen a baby beaver there recently!!

I started at the Gulf Dam and just admired lovely Laurel Creek. Wish I knew what it and the area looked like before it turned into a suburbia. I drove a bit further up to walk a little up the creek, since I was there a bit before one hour before sunset. It’s so nice! I did a short walk and accidentally spooked a Green Heron that was in the creek. North of Gulf Drive, it’s pretty narrow. More like a stream right there? But, the lushness growing in and right at the edges is delightful. Would be nice to see the whole length of it someday.

It was approaching one hour before sunset, so I walked across a dead field of weeds to get a closer look at the dam. Keeping my distance from the creek. So many happy birds there! Cliff Swallows and Red-winged Blackbirds and Northern Mockingbirds (including a juvenile begging) and Song Sparrows. Got a pretty good look at Gulf Dam. I had no idea a beaver dam could be so long across!

I was approaching about a hundred feet from it or so when I spotted a small, brown creature walk up the dam and slide into the water and out of sight. A BEAVER! ABSOLUTELY! And, it was SO SMALL!! So, a juvenile, I’m guessing??

It was all of three seconds that I saw it. But, no mistake. That was it. SO EXCITING. I waited around, standing still, not making sounds, for another forty-five minutes or so. Never saw another one again. But, I got to watch a Black Phoebe hanging out on the dam. And, there were tons of Cliff Swallows flying in and out of nests under the road bridge right there. And Song Sparrows singing.

It was getting close to sunset, and I figured I might as well see a Beaver Lodge while I was there before it got dark. So, I made a short drive to the Heretic Lodge on the map. All these spots are nestled amongst suburban houses. And, this lodge was easily accessible from a dead-end court. Like, a hundred feet or so?? And, IT’S HUGE. Something like five feet above the creek surface?

I watched the area for a while. A handful of Mallards and Mallard ducklings. A singing Northern Mockingbird. Crickets! I kept watching the water around the lodge. Just in case. And, THEN I SAW A SMALL, BROWN HEAD SWIMMING WITH A GREEN GRASS THING IN ITS MOUTH. I quickly grabbed my digital camera and pointed and zoomed and focused and snapped as fast as I could. I got one snap, and it WAS GONE. Perhaps went into the lodge? Didn’t see it come out the other side. But, WOW! I probably got one crap photo, at least!!!

Waited a little longer. Hoped it’d come out again. More Mallards and Mallard ducklings. THEN, I saw ANOTHER small, brown head swimming in the water coming from the other direction and disappearing at the lodge! Different beaver? I think so??

It was almost dark out, so I took my third beaver sighting to be a good sign that it was time to head home. While I didn’t get long/good looks at any of the three American Beavers that I saw today, I SAW THREE BEAVERS TODAY. WOW!!! I never thought I’d ever see one in my lifetime. So, THERE! Not too shabby, I must say!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: