Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Gathering Place

Winterberry Pond is a farm pond,
dug many, many decades ago, then abandoned;
over time sediment and vegetation crept back in.
Dad brought it back as a farm pond,
the water now used to irrigate crops and water cows and pigs
grown on some of our fields by Brookfield Farm.

The pond is a gathering place for all wildlife.
Some animals stop briefly on their way to other places,
others linger through the breeding season or remain year-round.

On sunny afternoons six painted turtles
bask on the clumps of tussock sedge,
slithering silently into the water as we approach.

One year an otter ate every last bullfrog and green frog,
silencing the pond of croaks that season.

Graceful tree swallows skim the surface for insects.
Grackles nest in the gray birches.
A hairy woodpecker searches for food
in the snags at the pond edge.

Ducks come in ones and twos.
A lone male hooded merganser spends a few days.
The mallard and wood duck pairs linger a bit longer.
Six phoebes stop over,
filling up on insects before continuing on.
The tiny olive-green kinglet flares his ruby head patch
while foraging in the underbrush.

We visit rain or shine.

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