Monday, June 9, 2008

Habitat Makes a Difference

We believe the wide variety of birds and other animals at the pond is due to the diverse habitat in the immediate and surrounding vicinity. As you can see from the various pictures most of the area around the pond is kept fairly clear except the eastern (shallow) end which is allowed to grow free and the northern bank which has quite a few pine trees. A portion of the southern bank has several trees, but the underbrush is kept cleared away. As you leave the pond, however, you venture into diverse landscapes making suitable habitats for a wide variety of animals.

Immediately to the west the land drops off into a wooded area with a variety of older trees along a small, spring fed stream.

These hardwoods provide a canopy which restricts the growth of underbrush so the area is generally open. It is normally cool and moist through the summer and the stream flows through the driest of months. The area has mostly been untouched for years. The natural growth and variety provides a good home for various birds and other animals such as frogs, toads, squirrels, deer, etc.

There is another pond directly across the road. The pond is probably about 3-4 times the size of our pond and a bit deeper. When full that pond overflows into a small stream that runs along the northern bank of our pond. The stream is also fed by springs. In summers, however, the flow is diminished and that stream can dry up completely for weeks.

In addition to other ponds in the vicinity there are also two good-sized man-made lakes nearby, both within a mile or so of the pond. They are each about 300-400 acres and both have limited access. Each has a significant amount of shoreline with little or no development. All these water sources make for a good habitat for various water birds. In some years our pond has Canada geese and ducks who basically call the pond home so we are privileged to see them raise their young. In most years, however, the pond is a stopping point for these geese, ducks, herons, and other birds which they will visit from time to time to check out the feeding situation. This year we daily we see the geese traveling back and forth between the ponds and lakes and frequently have the green herons plus a great blue heron visiting.

To the south of the pond lies the pasture with the horses and then a dense thicket of new growth pine trees which provides good cover for deer and other wildlife. The pasture and other open land in the vicinity provide good hunting for both the red-tail hawks and also for a wide variety of birds who feed primarily on insects that are found in grass lands. It is always interesting to watch various birds follow the horses around as they graze and snatch a quick meal of the insects which are stirred up by the horses.

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Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.