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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Looking for a Water Bottle : Found a Bear

I was helping guide a class of fourth graders from Jericho Elementary around Preston Pond and Libbys Lookout Monday. As we headed into the Town Forest I told them to keep their eyes peeled because a large bear had been seen in the area. No luck spotting it of course (21 people walking through the woods: not quiet). However, one of the students asked if afterwards I could look for his water bottle that he thought he'd dropped along the way. So yesterday afternoon I headed out with the dogs to backtrack the route. Got to our first stop where he thought he'd most likely dropped it. No water bottle, but scanning for the Wood Duck family I spotted this fellow - right where we'd been the day before. What a treat for the kids this would have been. Sending the class the video as a second-best: they were close.

Interestingly, the dogs never saw it (I have a height advantage) and the bear showed no sign of knowing we were there either. The water bottle turned out to be on the bus, but had he not mistakenly thought he'd dropped it, I wouldn't have run into the bear.


  1. wow! Quite the encounter! thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks Marna; it was quite a treat. I hope to have the time to get some more shots of him now that I have an idea of his habits. Could be a painting in it as I really like the bright spring greens with the deep black of the bear.