LAST ROUND FOR THE POND

I think I’ve made it clear my favorite thing at the TRNWR is the pair of ponds. You can see a whole ecosystem of animals and plants in one well-defined space.

Unlike last summer — my first with the refuge — the ponds this season have been drying up. I’m not sure whether it’s because of the weather or because the FWS has  been keeping the water reduced to control “introduced organisms”, a term l like better than “invasive species.”

So Tuesday when I went out there for a meeting I had to run down to the ponds and see if there was any water left. Alas, the one to the east of the walking trail has been dry for several weeks, and now the one to the west has been reduced to damp mud at the bottom. A trace of duckweed is all that appears to be alive.

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I wasn’t the only one giving this damp spot some attention, however. There were tracks in the mud from some four-legged animal prowling the green space. It looks like something had walked across the basin and done some digging in the mud. I’d guess it was looking for a last meal. An interesting detail is that the paw prints of the visitor were filled with the shells of dead water snails.

So it has me wondering what’s going to happen next? Is there anything dormant but alive in the bottom? What will happen when the rains return and some water comes back? How will the population of the pond be different next spring than it was this year when we were netting all sorts of creatures to show the school kids?

I’m going to keep an eye on the ponds this winter to see if I can figure anything out.

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3 thoughts on “LAST ROUND FOR THE POND”

  1. Hi, David –

    I’ve just discovered your blog, via Rachel’s TRNWR newsletter. I LOVE IT! I enjoy the juxtaposition of your excellent writing with the photos … from being “over your head” with the grasses (I’ve been out there with Ginny myself and I can empathize … since trying to learn this stuff on your own is a VERY humbling experience) .. to your hilarious posting on the garter snake (it made me laugh out loud!).

    Having heard your enthusiasm first hand at the EE meeting we had at TRNWR .. I can see that reflected everywhere in your website here … and that I will have to spend some time studying the older posts, since you have so much info in here. You are an inspiration!

    See you again soon at the refuge! I plan to be there for both Ginny’s talk on invasive plants, as well as for Sandy’s tree hike .. so maybe then.

    Warm regards .. and happy trails … ~roland begin

    1. We’ll thank you, Roland, for the compliment. Last year when I was roving I took a lot of pictures and had a lot of memorable experiences. But when I posted things on social media it seemed like a leaf in a raging river, swept away in the stream. When I decided to go for Volunteer Naturalist I decided to start this blog because I figured I’d want to document my experiences and I wanted a place to stash information I might need again (at my age the metaphor for my mind is more a sieve than a steel trap).

      I’m really open to thoughts, corrections, and suggestions from knowledgeable folks like you and the other volunteers. I’d like to think the blog is about all of us.

      1. Yeah, I’ve found when you talk to teens with sincerity and enthusiasm about nature, and if you can tune-in a little to their vibe, the’ll get caught up in what you’re saying. I consider it a real win.

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