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.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
It is fascinating to note the changing frog choruses through spring into summer. The Peepers are still at it, but not at the near deafening level they were in May. The bullfrogs are going loud and long now at various times, but their schedule is capricious (still need a confirmation recording or photos of them if anyone is that ambitious). However, an interesting shift in the higher forest ponds of late has been the change to Gray Tree Frogs. They've been an accent to the overwhelming Peeper chorus for many weeks now. However, when Bonnie and I were coming back from a walk through the abandoned beaver ponds in the saddle south of the Pinnacle (Bolton Cliffs to some), they became the only voices as we left the ponds behind and the pass narrowed, providing an eerie and evocative accompaniment as we headed home for dinner.