A couple of weeks ago, on another endless quest to control Himalayan balsam from Loch Lomond, Blyth Walker, our summer placement student spotted something which I thought was just another broken Willow branch.
However, we stopped and had a better look. I was a bit sceptical at first, having some years before, been fooled by the chewing marks of a mad Spaniel.
Having a closer look, it looked a lot like (although I’m no expert) Beaver nibbling.
I popped round to the Loch Lomond RSPB office, to show them the nibbled branch and result! Their staff had actually seen, what they thought might be a Beaver, in exactly the same spot.
A week later we came back with Kevin McCullough of Wildlife Operations, to set up a camera trap and look for other signs of Beavers.
After a bit of fettling the camera didn’t work for the first week. We (and by ‘we’ I mean Kevin) set it up wrong. This week however, we finally got a result.
A Beaver, happily swimming about, gnawing on the willow. This chap seems to really like White Willow as so far it’s the only species of tree he’s nibbled.
(Ignore the date stamp on the videos – as I said earlier we didn’t set up the camera very well)
For a while we’ve been expecting beavers to turn up as the Tayside population has expanded into other areas but we were surprised that they have spread to this area quite so soon.
We are fairly certain it’s been around for 3-4 weeks and both ourselves and the RSPB staff are finding more and more signs of Beaver presence. After quite a few centuries, the Beavers (well, at least one Beaver) are finally back and quite at home on the River Endrick.