The Wildlife Pond

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March 17, 2001: We have had eight or nine wild ducks at our wildlife pond most days this week. The pair of Buffleheads were there for several days. A Yellow-breasted Chat was at one of our feeders yesterday, but it was soon replaced by the little Downy Woodpecker that shoved it aside, so it flew away.  I think the Goldfinches are gradually leaving, but we have many Pine Siskins taking their place at the thistle feeders. One of my favorite birds, the Northern Harrier, has returned; a lovely male, white with black wingtips was cruising just above the grasses in the savannah this morning. Two Kestrels are perched on the wires. I put out a hummingbird feeder this week, but no takers thus far; it seems to me they are a bit late this season, but we have had some cooler weather that may be keeping them to the south. The arrival of the hummingbirds can be tracked on the net, but I have not looked up the sites this year. The Phoebe did a little work on the nest under the eaves near the chimney, tucking in a few twigs here and there, but I have not seen it there lately. I saw a Bewick's  Wren looking over one of the wren houses. The birds are certainly beginning to sing. The trees are full of them and their songs sound like a great chorus when I walk outside. 

The Live Oak trees are shedding their leaves now, a sure sign of spring, and next we will have their messy tassels all over the place. We have a nice increase in the number of Texas Paintbrush wildflowers just off our porch this year, and yellow flowers, including the pretty fringed Puccoon,  abound over the hill and in the meadows.

I have mentioned our wildlife pond several times and in an earlier entry promised to put up pictures of it. The pond was built by Troy Jones of this area, and he did a good  job. We had hoped to put two such tanks or ponds on The Lair, but after taking soil samples in likely places, this area was the only one that had the kind of clay that would hold water. Here is the beginning, one of the men doing the survey. 


We had to lose a couple of Texas Ash trees and will probably lose a couple of Sycamores that will stand in the water year round. I hate that, as I hated having to lose the huge stand of Button Bush that the butterflies seem to love so much. I hope that will reseed and come up again eventually. One thing I have learned in life though, is that at times something has to go to make room for something else equally good.  Next we see Troy in the bulldozer making a cut down into the area where the pond will be:

first cut

We  had the faith of Noah, having the pond made this last summer in the midst of the hottest and driest summer we have had since moving here seven years ago. We built it, though, and they came--the rains came. And here is a view of the pond taken about two weeks ago (we have had more rain since and it has been running over in the designated drainage areas). This is taken from atop the levee:

from the levee

Here is the view from the shallow, boggy end, among the trees, looking toward the levee:


It shows up well from the road, and we are so pleased that the wildlife are taking advantage of it so soon. We see not only cow prints, but deer, raccoon, and turkey prints near the pond. Birds hang out in the trees around it. And who knows what critters visit there in the night? I am going to look for frog eggs soon and hope to see a turtle there before long. 

Finally, I want to share a special gift we had this week:

Afterglow at The Lair

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Last revised: November 26, 2010

Copyright 2001-2010 Rheba Kramer Mitchell. All rights reserved.