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.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Otter and Sunnie in the Sun

videoThis was yesterday around lunchtime. The otter hadn't seen me as I obscured my silhouette by sitting against a tree (no blind). However, its buddy, swimming up on my right must have seen my profile and let out a warning grunt. This one alerts and looks, but never saw me despite my being in plain sight. From that I would guess that their vision is good at movement and delineated shapes, but not too sharp at distinguishing colors (I had a dark blue coat on). So maybe not much for color vision. Anyway, warnings are clearly taken seriously, since even though it didn't locate me, it left anyway with its unfinished Pumpkinseed Sunfish and continued to look for me as it swam away.

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