Beaver or groundhog? Looking for clues.

01-Groundhog-2013-07-18-05

The other day I showed you this picture of what I called a groundhog. Some of my readers thought it was a juvenile beaver. So I’ll pose the question, what do you think?

Meanwhile I went looking for clues.

01-creekin-2013-07-28-02
Creek bed at the base of the hill behind our house. It swells with rainfall.

I took my ferocious wildlife tracking canine and my human body guard with me.

02-tree_roots-2013-07-28-02

As we walked along the creek bed, we saw the big tree where I’ve photographed groundhogs in the past.

03-deer-track-2013-07-28-07

We saw quite a few tracks in the mud, but they were mostly white-tailed deer tracks. No big surprise.

05-trax-2013-07-28-11

I did see a couple of tracks like these. I don’t know whether they are just messed up deer tracks or something else.

06-trax-2013-07-28-12

When I looked online I couldn’t identify them.

04-dam_or_not-2013-07-28-09

We also saw this pile of tree branches across the creek bed. One of the dead ash trees in the woods had fallen across the creek, and Mark thinks that it served as a barrier to block other sticks  that got washed down the creek. I don’t know what to think. In the pools visible at the bottom of the photo, Mark noticed a couple of small gold fish swimming around with many minnows.

07-goldfish-2013-07-28-22
Circle and saturated color around goldfish added in photoshop for visibility.

Where do these guys come from? We believe our creek is part of the Mill Creek Water Shed, but mostly it carries runoff from the rain.

08-reflection-2013-07-28-32

I tried to capture a photo of the many minnows that swim about and are easy to see by the naked eye due to their motion, but apparently are not so easy to capture as a digital image. I got a lot of reflection of the trees and skies.

09-minnow-2013-07-28-37

I think you can see one minnow in the middle of this photo. I’ll have to admit; I just wasn’t expecting there to be fish living down in the creek.

10-hawk-2013-07-28-53

We had the bonus of a couple of hawks landing above our heads. I only got one in the picture.  This might be a Cooper’s hawk, but I’m not sure.

11-chair-2013-07-28-65

The final piece of evidence came from one of the plastic chairs we use at the bottom of our yard. Can you see the teeth marks? Somebody was gnawing on this. What do you think, beaver, groundhog, or maybe just a squirrel?

Here’s a site that might help.
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-woodchuck-and-vs-beaver/

I hope somebody can clear this up for me.