You know, few places attract the species diversity of a beaver pond – especially in the mountains. By taking a simple stream bed and transforming a section of it into a sprawling wetland area, beavers manage to create a habitat that is a boom for so much life. In an environmental history class I once took we talked about how beavers were the only other species in North America that set about changing their environment for their own benefit – other than humans. The difference between the two however is that humans seem to attract only cockroaches and pigeons where as beavers on the other hand tend to create entire ecosystems. Beavers 1, humans 0 . . .
In just a few short hours of lingering around one of the classic beaver ponds in Grand Teton National Park, I photographed elk calves, moose, western tanagers, cinnamon teals, wigeons, golden eyes, mergansers, beavers, and some reflections of the Tetons. Not bad for a hundred yard walk down a trail.
To truly take full advantage of one of these photographic hot spots, I recommend a stout set of waders – I use neoprene as they are super comfortable and they work all fall, winter, and spring to keep me warm regardless of temperatures. A chair blind is another great tool to keep around for these locations. Out early in the morning and you can pop one of these bad boys up in a matter of a minute. I use a double Ameristep chairblind as it has tons of room to conceal all movements, allow for ease of tripod use, and there is a second seat beside me so I can stick bird books, and other items up out of the water if I decide to erect it half submerged – which for those classic low shots of waterfowl is often the only way to do it.