One Year Pond Study Week 25: Atmospheric changes at the pond

Here is our pond this week:

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Each week we visit the pond there are almost imperceptible alterations to the atmosphere.  This week, however, there really was a noticeable change.  Things were calm, as they have been for a few weeks.  The difference this week was that there was an air of slight desolation.  The water level had gone down significantly over the past few weeks, revealing rubbish and a shore line which really is not as attractive as when the pond is full of water.  This is a photo from last week showing it’s ugliness:

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The mallards, of which there were many, look dejected and dull.  The males and females cannot be told apart, the males having lost their mating coats.  Here they are over the spring:

Mallard ducks: business as usual for them!

And now:

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The lone Canada goose seemed lost without it’s partner, paddling around with no mate to honk at:

DSC_0082We did wonder if it was in fact one of our pair or a stray one.  I’ve looked back over past photos taken during the spring, but it is difficult to say:

I don't know if you can see but one of the geese is banded where as the other is not.  Curious!

The only differences we could see was that the neck seemed to be much longer on our singleton and it looked a little scrawny.  Who knows?  It may well be a stray.  I hope it is.  Our resident Geese pair have been part of our pond for many years, it would be sad if  one had died.

The heron flew off just as we arrived.  In fact the bird flying in the picture at the top of the post is the heron.  It circled overhead a few times, squawking loudly, it’s sound lonely, before it flew off (the children remarked we had never heard his noise before).

All the reeds, lilies, pond irises and grasses, which just a few short weeks ago had been blooming and at their best, were now down-trodden by nature, trampled and dying out:

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There was a haunting aura surrounding the pond and we were pulled towards it, all of us, not wanting to leave.

This was one of our most favourite pond visits.  The children had decided to go wading again, just like last week.  This week they had long sticks to test the depths of the water all around and they did indeed traverse around the perimeter of the pond.  This time though they were in the water!

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This was ponding at it’s best.

Even when it started to pour with rain, the children begged to be allowed to stay, to sit and observe the pond in silence.  Taking up their chosen position they settled down to  contemplate the natural world before them, each touched by the experience:

T11 just sat, occasionally taking photos, but mainly simply observing from afar
T11 just sat, occasionally taking photos, but mainly simply observing from afar
C10, using her binoculars, kept her eyes on all the fish jumping in and out of the water
C10, using her binoculars, kept her eyes on all the fish jumping in and out of the water
And L10 perched herself up in our Ash tree to observe her one small square she had chosen the week before, with her notebook in hand, she took notes of all she saw.
And L10 perched herself up in our Ash tree to observe her one small square she had chosen the week before, with her notebook in hand, she took notes of all she saw.

The pond this week was not at its best, and yet we were all moved by our time there.  Somehow it mirrored real life.  The ups and the downs; the beautiful and the unsightly; the promise of new things to come, in contrast to the emptiness which often follows.  Life and death; light and dark…it’s all there to see down at the pond.

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22 comments

  1. What beautiful words, Claire. You have painted such a vivid picture of the atmosphere of the pond.
    We went to ours briefly on a flying visit home last week and we were amazed at how a quarter of it had totally dried up and was mud! (Which C delighted in squelching in!)

  2. How interesting about the male duck coat change. I love how your pond visits are more than just scientific, they seem to be spiritual as well.

    1. You could be right. It is certainly more than a simple nature study. It is because it is a little like visiting a friend each week. As the weeks pass those friends become closer and more important and you notice things that at the beginning you simply wouldn’t have seen. it has been a really good experience for our whole family!

  3. Lovely shots. My toddler loves ducks any outdoor activity with where there will be ducks make him happy. Its great that your kids are learning about the enviroment and to be still and watch nature. I hope to do the same for my kids as time goes by.

  4. Such great observations. Our water levels have been slowly falling due to drought, but thankfully our summer has been relatively less hot (only 90s as compared to the 100 days over 100 last year).

    I love the pictures of them in their waders. So much fun!

  5. Well, wow! I guess I am most impressed about going to the same place every week for a year. We have so many favorite outdoor spots that we tend to rotate through them. We only get to our stream once a quarter or so. We are just too busy going to the other places we like. I know it is really impacting your kids to get to spend so much time at one location–to learn it deeply.

    This is great. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Your children’s obvious enjoyment of their time together and sitting alone in the rain impressed me deeply. Although I haven’t visited any previous posts on your year-long study, your photos told so much … that I just had to browse a little further and I have loved reading your blog!

  7. Neither did I. they started looking scrappy a few weeks ago and were loosing their colour so I looked it up thinking they must have a disease or something. But no, it’s perfectly normal and happens twice a year.

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