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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ice Show

Every now and then, I get a jolting reminder that the extraordinary is always around, even on the most (seemingly) unremarkable days: you just have to look (and not usually very hard).

This morning was deceptively ordinary as Nainette, Shiloh, and I headed over to the pond. Yesterday's snow was thin, the ground still frozen, and the sun was not quite clear of the hills.

No one was out. The geese apparently drove the otters off and the geese and Mallards were either running errands or tucked into the reeds on the north end. However, as the dogs tended to business, I got to looking a bit closer.

The entire lower part of the pond (and up past the ledge on the east shore) was frozen over with a skim of ice. Looking closer still, there appeared to be interesting patterns in it. It was amazing. 168 photos (thank goodness for digital) and two videos later, the dogs were getting anxious for breakfast (Shiloh was very noisily eating a stick) and my fingers were getting numb, so we headed back to the house.

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