Peak Foliage

Peak Foliage
October on Preston Pond

Brief History of Preston Pond

Born from glaciers about 13,500 years ago, the original pond was only what is now the wider north end. Probably about 10,000 years ago, as the modern forest started to take root, beavers colonized the pond and expanded it (old dams are under the water surface).

With the arrival of Europeans in New York and coastal New England, a vigorous fur trade grew in the 17th Century. Beavers are particularly vulnerable to trapping since they are easy to find and they were wiped out by the 18th Century. With no beavers to maintain the dams, Preston Pond drained and appears on 18th and 19th Century maps as only the smaller original glacial north end.

Reintroduction in the 1920's and 1930's led to beavers recolonizing Preston Pond. By chance, they arrived the same year my grandfather bought the property in 1946. Ever since then, beavers have lived unmolested (by humans) on Preston Pond - until February 2016. They have never caused flooding problems or over-eaten the surrounding forest stand to the point that they abandoned the pond. Their population has doubtlessly had its ups and downs, but they have managed their affairs here for the last 70 years as beavers did for millions of years: on their own, despite some of their top predators having been exterminated by humans.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Well, I've heard of heavy water, but out to the the pond yesterday morning with the dogs, I found "heavy ice." That is weird because of course, ice floats. Came back with the camera (and of course the dogs). It was 50 F and raining. This is the dam at the south end of the pond (our land). The ice must have frozen to the shore and then been inundated with the surging water from the rain - and had enough flex to bow up in the middle, because that is still floating above the water surface. The brook is roaring and the dam is overflowing, but only in some few spots and not with the sort of force that broke a section in June 2013 (I'll post that later).
Looking north, up to the rest of the pond from the lower dam.

I believe I mentioned anticipating that the reflections might be good with the rain. I was hoping for some sun, but the play of grays was appealing too - and all that there was. Dealing with Mother Nature, you make do with what you get ... and I'm rarely disappointed.

The entire lake was a fascinating weave of muted colors, shapes, and patterns.

This was shot from on top of the east shore ledges.
Shiloh inspecting the submerged shore ice. Shiloh inspecting the submerged ice.

The lower portion of Preston Pond from the west shore below the submerged dam. Beaver trail and old chewed stump from years past. We are keeping a regular eye out for sign of any surviving beavers after the trapping that the town Select Board allowed. The large adult male and a juvenile male were killed earlier this month. There was no wildlife management issue or flooding issue. This was allowed based on a recreational/hobby/tradition justification.

Nainette is perched on the base of a Yellow Birch that either was chewed in deep snow, or by a very athletic beaver.
 The submerged upper dam on our way to check on the trapping site at the active beaver lodge.

The trapper put two traps between the lodge entrances and the underwater food pile on February 9. He came back on February 12 and pulled the two dead beavers up from under the ice and removed the traps, but left this wire part of the set.

This is the first trapping that has ever been allowed on this property going back at least 70 years.

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