Encounters with critters

I spent the afternoon on the Paw Paw yesterday and it turned out to be an exceptional day for seeing critters.

Going upstream I passed a blue heron that was leaning over and so focused on hunting that it let me get pretty close before it had to give up and fly away. Not long after I saw a large owl swoop down to catch something. For about a mile a kingfisher kept flying just ahead of me and I enjoyed watching it fly so low over the water. Then I had another lovely encounter with river otters that were playing and chattering away. Not long after that I flushed out a big buck that must have been bedded down at river’s edge. It gave me one big snort and bounded away. Later I went around a bend and passed a lone Canada goose standing quietly at river’s edge; it seemed unusually calm to let me pass within a few feet. Later on my way back downstream I go around a bend and there’s a spike buck in the water right in front of me so I stopped paddling and gave him some room. He jumped out on the other side into some very thick brush where you could hear him struggling to crash through the brush for a few minutes. I also saw lots of fresh beaver work and a couple of times I think a beaver might have snuck a peek at me but I can’t prove it.

Nice day. Even the rain at the end felt good.


For the past month, I see one eagle remaining here; it uses an abandoned Osprey nest as a perk to fish lots of geeses and ducks. Nice foliage change and more days without 15 mph winds. Nice river TomL.

What my local critters did on a wet , chilly day.


There are rivers in the West I will not name, where it is possible to see 40 bald eagles, osprey, herds of bighorn sheep, herds of elk swimming across the river below camp, 50 blue herons, 250 mule deer and beaver, otter and mink swimming under the boat. It is like a wildlife safari.

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Yup. I know of several of them.
But they are “off the beaten path” a bit. And to have a real good trip you need to have a put-in place and a take-out place because the current is not slack enough to get out where you got in. So pre-planning is vital.
It’s important to have extra margins of safety and take precautions because once you get in the river you can’t just get out anywhere and expect a lot of help if you need it. Some of that country is still about as wild and out of the way as it was a century ago. Not as “big” as Alaska or much of the Canadian wilderness, but big enough to be out of the safety net. So if when a paddler goes in those rivers and places they should be very conscious about safety and team-work.

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A little over a week ago I’m paddling upstream on the Paw Paw and trying to be quiet when I gently bumped my boat with my paddle and the noise made a buck pop up just ahead of me. It ran about 50 yards then swam across the river and continued running away on the other bank, just making an exceptional effort to get as far away as possible. It really seemed like he knew it was hunting season. I also surprised a beaver kit that gave me that worried look. The beaver have been super active on my local rivers.

Dark days, low water and chewed leaners (what a waste)… looks like the Huron on my side of the state.

Or the Red Cedar & Grand in the center of the state.

Honey caught a squirrel this morning. The encounter didn’t end well for the squirrel :chipmunk:.

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Wild horses behind the house. Black bear in the sage behind the fence 2 weeks ago. Bald eagles are in for newborn calf placentas. Owls in the yard every night. Lots of red-tails, Ferruginous and rough legged hawks around, kestrels, and northern harriers.

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