Sunday, July 20, 2008
A visit to my pond
One of the best things about my home is my pond. In fact, one of the main criteria when I looked for my place was the presence of "natural water," and this small farm pond was a major selling point in my eyes.
Besides being stocked with bluegill, catfish, a few large-mouthed bass and some huge grass carp, it is home to turtles and frogs, a dragonfly haven, a source of water for birds and mammals, a "fishin' hole" for my relatives, and a playground for my dogs. Despite the heat, I spent a little time there today. I had promised the girls a play date, and Holly, for one, was dying for a swim. Grace wades, but refuses to go further out than chest deep.
"Fetch a stick" is a favorite game. Holly leaps in like an Olympic diver, and retrieves every stick thrown.
Grace waits at the edge, hoping to steal the stick from Holly.
Here are a couple of quick videos showing off my girl's skill. (Turn up the volume to hear Purple Martins calling in the background.)
Many birds enjoy my pond. You can hear the Purple Martins overhead in both of the above video clips of the dogs. Red-winged Blackbirds nest in the cattails along the pond edge, and lately I have had visits from a female Wood Duck. I really hope she will nest nearby one year. All three of my resident swallow species, Barn and Tree Swallows and the martins, drink and bathe here, as well as using it as an insect hunting grounds.
The martins love the many dragonflies who inhabit the pond. Bats, too, will visit in the evening, and in the summer, I can set my watch by their appearance.
For quite some time, I have been lucky enough to have a visiting Green Heron at the pond, but he's pretty shy. My glimpses of him are usually limited to the sight of his backside flying away as I approach or rarely, a glance as he lands before the shrubs block my view.
He must be getting used to my company, or else he is desperate for a meal, because today, he flew in after the dogs and I arrived and stayed put through some vigorous canine aquatic action. I tried stalking him for pictures and spooked him away twice, only to have him return both times.
I caught some very shaky video before I finally flushed him for good, sending him over the barn to the neighbor's pond, where it apparently was quieter.