Meet the Muskrat of the High Desert of Oregon!

I headed off as every morning when I go on a walk here in our town. Checking my camera bag and choosing which lens to bring with me, knowing it will never be the right lens ha! Choosing whether to carry the heavy water canteen,or just fill up a bottle I have around here. Filled up a bottle with water that fits nicely into my bag is what I chose to do this morning.

As times before a coyote disturbed the peace at the ponds. Hearing all the racket I new something was going down, however I just kept my slow pace hoping by the time I got there things would be calmed down?


If the Magpies would quit telling everyone I was there things would have went a little better? The ducks were on high alert due to the coyote no doubt?? All of them flew making loud distress calls as they went! Some in pairs going this way and that way! I did notice the farmers were busy doing their thing, which the wildlife get used to here in my part of the High Desert of Oregon. Jefferson County Oregon is a agricultural place after all!

As I looked over the first pond I seen nothing in the pond itself but for some small birds who looked like Robins taking baths. I was  keeping a lookout for the Coyote of course, though Coyotes really do not want anything to do with people! I made my way through the brush to the second pond.

I did see something dive under the water. Whatever it was made a ripple in the water. We do have some pretty large fish here, but not in a pond of this size I thought? Shoot someone would have to put the fish here! Fish just cant walk to ponds! Hence why the state of Oregon is dropping fish from helicopters in the more remote lakes for those who hike to the lakes and want to fish.

Really these seam to be holding ponds that are not really used anymore for the farmer who owns the land. Pipes coming from the ponds themselves as well as what appears to be a machine which I really do not pay any mind to for to have permission to be on the land I have to follow some basic rules. Common sense tells me not to mess around with such things as machinery! The owner did not have to tell me this. However, I do find the pipes nice sitting spots. They are really long pipes that are basically on the ground.

I made myself comfy, and waited. Whatever it was will come up again. Sometime! Sure enough up pops a head with vegetation in it’s paws!

The Blackbirds in the tree nearest me were quiet for a second then off the male started doing his display calling to whatever female might happen to be around. The male Red Winged Blackbird did keep me company, along with the female who answered his call.

I watched the Muskrat eat her breakfast taking of course a lot of photographs! No I did not put all the photographs on here, just a couple!

The Muskrat after a time quit diving and bring up more vegetation to eat to what it looked like to me, she was checking on something?? Where she is there, that is the end of this pond, see the cattails and such?? This is a ok sized pond, I just call it the small pond.

In the next shot here, you can see she is contemplating something! Her behavior made me even wonder what she is thinking so hard about? I am only calling her a she, I do not know if this is a male or female? Perhaps the males venture out more then the females??

The morning was still pretty chilly at this time, I still had my sweater on. Though gosh the bugs!! I did have to check if I had ticks on me, though it is a little early for ticks I thought…… No tick thank goodness! I am a tick magnet, that is just the way it is! Guy (my other half), claims if there is a tick within a mile I will not only find it but I will bring it home with me ha! This is what happens when you hang out near the water!

Many places the visitors come to, these places do not have bugs to bother these folks as much for these places are sprayed with chemicals. This way folks can have a good time in our part of the world. You go off the beat and path, well…. you will get eaten up just like everything else by the bugs. However, these places off the beat and path are where I feel the best outdoor experiences come from! The trick is to learn where these kinds of places are…..

Now this next photograph is what made me know without a doubt this is no beaver!

Beavers do not have such a tail, hence Muskrat. Rat….. It is not like you can walk right up to a wildlife species and ask it what exactly do we humans call you?? I think most of my time photographing what I do when I get home is research!! I would of liked this to be a Beaver, why? Well, we do not see Beaver like we used to here! This really is not a place a beaver would be more then likely anyways, due to it not being connected to a river inlet etc.. Well, from what I know of Beaver without looking them up and reading.

I did kind of feel my observation of this Muskrat was over. Thinking just wait…. I am in no hurry, and I refuse to wear a watch or any kind of time piece. Though I did happen to notice the farmers , there was several people out on farm machinery on that piece of land over in that direction. That just happens to be where one can see as plain as day The Three Sisters mountains. What a horrible place to work right?? Where you have beautiful scenery of The Three Sisters mountain, with Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood right there in your face ha!

The farmers drove the farm machinery and parked all in a row. Common farmers like things neat and tidy! I assumed it was around lunch time?? Our town does not have a noon time bell like other towns I have been in. This is how I kind of new it was around noonish, or when it was going to start getting hot so 10ish?? WOW it did get hot later on btw!

I was contemplating getting up and leaving, but thought I would just sit tight…..

By this time a Robin come over where the Red Winged Blackbirds were to check out the situation! Robin birds are pretty much bullies !! They rather feel that everything is their business! Of course they back off when bigger birds then them are around however the blackbirds are not bigger then they are.

As our Muskrat was in the cattails I started watching the birds more. Jumping down getting drinks and heading back up to their perching spot. The male Red Wing showing off all his color as he screams for attention. The Robin bird trying to scare him out of his spot….. dint happen by the way! I also at this time heard hawks, well Harriers perhaps. This is where I typically see them and they make drive by’s. Though I have seen my share of eagles out here. Though this was a hawk. Fact was, it was a Red Tailed Hawk soaring way up high. Circling, riding the wave until I could not see it or hear it any longer.

Keeping a eye on where the Muskrat is…. something is at that spot, for the Muskrat did not move from there! All I could see is it’s butt, or um rear end for our younger readers! AND I waited…..

I wait a lot by the way!! Thinking most of my life is waiting! Of course I just can not get my lens in there to see what the Muskrat is doing, thus I think it is waiting when actually it is just a time laps for I have no clue of what is going on and I want to know, so I wait! Why I also do not wear any type of watch, or carry a time piece…. That is a stress I just dont need in my life. Since my sibling took my Cinderella watch did I think time should hold so much control over us. Or was it a Snow White, I think it was Snow White come to think of it…. I was always one to think about why folks do what they do. Hey, I wonder how much that watch would go for these days? MMMM, might just be neat to see one of those now a days. Ok back to the Muskrat!

The wait was finally over!! Went by pretty quickly. I had things to think about and other creatures to watch while I waited, and waited.

WHAM with delight and rather a proud look on the Muskrats disposition, I found out what on earth the Muskrat was doing!!

The Muskrat was cutting this down! Well chewing it down! Thank goodness we have a thumb right?

Looks like a pretty good piece of something to eat there doesn’t it? If that is you are a Muskrat! Some nice bark, perhaps a bug or more within the bark! Yum Yum ha!


Now to get the piece of wood to go where the Muskrat wants it to go! Some folks say critters are not real smart….. I dont know about that!? We have watched this Muskrat use up a lot of energy to get this piece of wood into the water, so that piece of wood must be pretty darn important!

Off “she”, goes with the piece of wood to her desired destination. This Muskrat disappeared where I could no longer observe what the Muskrat was doing.

I did make my way over to that spot, and seen it was built up of many pieces of wood! Though I dont know for sure, however I am wondering if this Muskrat had young and was taking this piece of wood to the young to chew on?? Or for this Muskrat to chew on later?? Or just to repair the nest as Beavers do??

Thank you for coming by and spending time with me and the Muskrat!

Leave a Reply


Your Cart