Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Walney Pond

Wanting to get some exercise we headed over to Walney Pond.  I have posted about it many times during the life of this blog.  It is close to home - only a short drive away - and we come here many times during the year.  It is right up there on one of our favorite places to go to, with the added benefit of it being 'just around the corner'.

We have been noticing some activity in that there were large machines at the far side of the pond a few visits ago.  On investigation we discovered they were water pumps but on our last visit they had gone and everything seemed to be fine.  This time we were shocked to see how low the water was, and on one side of the wooden pathway it was completely drained.  Gregg was able to walk over to where normally it would be full of water.  The bottom of the bird house pole is usually submerged.  We figured the stones had been laid to prevent erosion, maybe.  

On the other side of the bridge the level was lower than normal but at least we could tell it was our Walney Pond.

Okay, city girl and city boy (us) were looking at these strange indentations just underneath the surface.  It reminded me of a honeycomb.  At first I thought that the roots of the waterlilies had been dug up by the park people, but that's the great thing about coming to these places, you meet up with very nice people who are only too willing to educate you.

A gentleman was walking by with his dog and he overheard me.  He was nice enough not to laugh and said that these had been made by the fish, that they were getting ready to spawn.  He told us that if we looked closely we would see a fish on every one of the holes the fish had made, and sure enough there they were.  He also said that once they got ready to spawn there would be a flurry of activity and just to prove him right, just beyond these fish, all the mud was being swirled up and around, and ripples went off like an explosion.  I can't remember if he identified this as a Bluegill or if this was some other fish and that he knew Bluegill were also in the pond.  You can see what a Bluegill looks like if you click here.

I smiled at him and said, "You wouldn't by any chance be a fisherman would you?"  He smiled back and said yes he was and that he and his son had come down to the pond many times to do a little fishing.  His son was all grown up now but they still went fishing together sometimes, and mentioned that they had taken a couple of trips up to one of the lakes in Canada.

This is his dog Ferris who patiently waited while his human chatted to us about his favorite passion for the next 20 minutes.  We enjoyed our encounter with this very nice gentleman and his best friend Ferris.  Ferris is an eleven years old German Shepherd/Boxer mix and was feeling the heat.  

A lovely, friendly dog who liked me talking to him and having his ears tickled.

We mentioned our resident beaver and was told that they may have been taken to pastures/ponds anew, because they were doing too much damage to the trees.  In the two following photos you can see the entrance to its lodge which would normally be under water.  We were surprised that there were two entrances.  Us city folks are learning all kinds of things because of the lower level of water.

This gives you a better look at one of the entrances.

By this time we had left Ferris and his very nice human companion, and had walked across the creek on the other side of the pond.  There were indeed many trees that had fallen across the water since our last visit, but on investigation we didn't find any evidence that this was caused by the beaver.  More like the bad storms we had over the summer.  

I hope our beaver returns once the pond is back to its normal level.  We're going to miss him if he doesn't.  We will have to go over to Huntley Meadows to visit his cousins instead.

More on Walney Pond in another post.