Beavers get going at dusk, which is why the picture to the right isn't that clear, but the evidence of their activities was. It was a pond near a farm, with a small viewing screen to reduce disturbance to the beavers, which were plainly encouraged.
To see a beaver was terrific, but an equally fascinating experience was to see an area of flooded woodland in the celebrated primeval forest at Białowieża (below).
We couldn't see beavers: it was daytime, after all, but there was plenty of evidence. A beaver dam here - you couldn't get near it - has raised water levels, creating a sequence of pools and killing many trees. We found a footprint. But the pictures below and bottom right show the most obvious signs of their presence.
Dead timber - standing or fallen - is well-known for its value to wildlife so there's no doubt in my mind that the beavers here have created a network of valuable micro-habitats. We chanced across a wild boar piglet drinking. Dozens of ruddy darter dragonflies buzzed around: this one settled.
There are more pictures of Białowieża forest here.
There is also a chance to see beavers on our Cévennes holiday, where there is a reintroduction project on the river Dourbie.
Should beavers be reintroduced to the UK? Sure!
Chris Durdin, October 2009