I see that the City has cut down and pushed aside the dead pine tree that was leaning over the trail on the West River side of the larger pond. The top of the dead pine had fallen into a sycamore tree behind the house next to Kennedy School and beside being an eyesore overhanging the trail covered with bittersweet vines it could have been hazardous had it fallen.
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Wow! My favorite woodland flower the Jack-in-the-Pulpit are up. They seemed to have sprung up overnight as I’ve been looking for them. They can be seen in the boggy area alongside the trail behind JFK school. The flowering crab between the two ponds is about to bust open with flowers and throughout the open space the hawthorn shrubs are blossoming. ( I think they are some sort of hawthorn shrub) Our two swans come and go and have now been absent for three days now. Hopefully they will not come back as I’m glad to see them gone.
Date: April 17, 2010
Categories: Mondo Ponds
Had to don full foul weather gear to take the dog on his morning walk today. Water everywhere, lots and lots of it! All the spill ways and the Beaverbrook pipe are roaring big time. The upper pond continues to drain across the trail at a pretty good rate. With the ground saturated, I hope with the predicted winds that no more trees come down.
I’ve been working on a small thicket of flowering crab apple at the trail intersection between the large and upper pond. It was so overgrown with cat briers they were pulling the thicket over and killing them. I finished removing all the brier this weekend. I’ll attach a picture of my granddaughter by that thicket last year. The thicket was in full bloom and smelled so good.
Mondo Ponds – Monday March 29th
Everything is pretty quiet on the ponds because of the cooler weather and this week with all the predicted rain it will probably be the same. The water rushing over the trail from the upper pond into the larger one was heavier than I ever remembered. Darn, it was almost over my boots and I though I was going to get washed away.
Well at least with all this rain the ponds are getting a good flushing. A couple of small trees fell down across the train behind JFK school. The limbs and vines were completely blocking the trail. I don’t know what type of trees they are but they have a very shallow root system. The weight from a dense mat of bittersweet vines that covered them contributed to them falling over. I managed to clear the trail using a bow saw and pruning shears. There is still one bigger dead fall tree overhanging the trail that should be cut down. I was going to take a go at it but I was already soaking wet from the rain after cutting back the others.
Mondo Ponds – Rainy Tuesday, March 23
You will need waterproof boots to walk the trails this morning. It will be a lot nicer when the trails from the Naugatuck Parking lot have a nice layer of wood chips on them as the mud can be slippery in places. The small upper pond is draining across the trail into the larger pond at a pretty good rate.
The swallows were out in force this morning skimming over the large pond for insects. There were more Canadian geese on the large pond this morning, I counted over two dozen. I watched one drag out battle between two male Canadian geese. It lasted for some time before one finally gave up. It did one of those panic flights, half running and flapping across the top of the water to escape. It settled down on the other side of the pond and the victor returned to the flock. The larger swan, standing on a small submerged rock, seemed to be taking in all the commotion.
I see the stand of pussy willows are in bloom along the trail that runs between the upper and larger pond. For some reason the fuzzy buds are only at the top of the trees this year. There are no buds on the lower branches; the wife seems to think that maybe the early warm weather has something to do with it.
I put up the notices on discarding fishing line at both parking lot entrances this afternoon. Don’t know how long they will last because all notices have a habit of being torn down within a day or so.
Not a nice subject and something I’ve had to take care of a number of times. This afternoon I cleaned up someone’s disgusting mess alongside the trail between the ponds. I know nature can call unexpectedly, but just leave it in plain sight and then throw all their clean up material into the bushes is just plain ignorant. Guess it takes all kinds to make up this world!
Saying from my camping group: Let no man say to my shame that all was clean before I came.
The ponds this morning were hauntingly beautiful shrouded with fog. Our resident blue heron, whom I’ve not seen for a while, has returned to the large pond. He glided in ghost like while I was watching the mute swans. A flock of about seven Canadian geese noisily took flight and disappeared into the fog. I’m sure they are not residents and were using the pond as an overnight stopover.
There were a good number of fishermen on all the ponds this weekend. Again I was surprised and delighted to find very little litter. I did however have to remove or pickup a number of mono filament fishing line tangles. Half were carelessly discarded and left lying on the ground and the rest I pulled out of the brush. Either it is carelessness or people are unaware of the dangers discarded fishing line posses to wildlife. I think I will copy the reminder and warning from the Connecticut Angler’s Guide and post it on the two parking lot entrances. Almost all the fishermen I talked to this weekend said the fish were not biting and several said the water may still be too cold.
The trails are drying nicely after all our rains. There are still some areas of standing water and mud but they can be easily bypassed. This morning I met an elderly fellow on my morning walk who said he had recently moved to Milford and had just discovered the ponds. After our mutual greetings he made a comment that I just must share. He threw out his arms and looking around he said, “Is this a gift or what!” I had never thought of our open space in that manner but his comment made me see how I and others should look upon the Mondo Pond Open Space. Real nice gentleman and I am sure I will see him again on the trails enjoying our little space of nature.
Gosh darn! The two mute swans are back again in the larger pond. I was hoping they had moved on but it looks like they are a pair and will probably be nesting on the island below the pipe spillway. The Canadian geese were making a lot of racket this morning. Looks like they are still pair bonding and will be looking for nesting areas. A lone fisherman commented on the activity of beavers swimming on the large pond. He looked a little disappointed when I told him they were muskrats and yes they are as busy as beavers. Couple of weeks from now you may see the male muskrats with their tails raised high up out of the water. It must be some sort of courtship thing. With their tails up you can see the water vibrating around them, I think they are making some sort of low inaudible noise to attract a mate.
I met with Anneliese and her students this morning. Wonderful group and what an energetic group of teenagers. I accompanied them a tour of the trails and gave them my suggestions as to what I think would benefit the trails. When I left the group, about mid morning, they were busy cutting and pruning out the evasive vines at the entrance by JFK school. The young men were busy picking up and defining the trail edges with deadfall trees. Several others were removing the ugly white drainage pipes that extended out from under the trail. If Subway is going to feed them for lunch they had better figure on a very hungry crew of hard workers. I took some pictures that I will forward to Anneliese so she can post them with their names.
I called the Inland Fisheries Division and talked to Laura at 860 424-3474. She confirmed that using live goldfish as bait was illegal. I reported that one or more fishermen have been using them as bait at the Milford Mondo Ponds. She transferred me to the DEP law enforcement office and I reported the activity. They thanked me for both my report and concern and asked if I would call 860 424-3333 for an officer if I see any illegal fishing activity. Hopefully there will be an officer somewhere in the area when I call the number.
Okay – the Ponds look bright and shinny after all the rain and our pond residents are busy preparing for another breeding season. The male Canadian geese are just squabbling over lone females but next month there will be some fierce battles taking place. The muskrats are very active and can been swimming in the middle of the larger pond. They are also coming ashore and going into the stands of phragmites, either for nesting material or eating the grasses that are coming up. Later that afternoon I saw the female painted turtle again. She was almost to the top of the rock outcropping and it did not look like she had found a site for her eggs. (I am only assuming that is what she climbed the hill to do.) It looked like she was missing her left eye, possibly damaged by a fishing hook. Other than the missing eye she looked healthy and robust. The ponds have a good population of snapping turtles but I have not seen any as yet. The year before last I witnessed a large female snapping turtle laying her eggs. Two days later I saw that something had dug them up and ate the entire clutch. [Note to self: Start carrying your digital camera]
There have been a good number of fishermen taking advantage of the last two warm sunny days. I expected that I would be very busy picking up their trash but was pleasantly surprised. Other than some discarded fishing line, fishing lure packaging, some Petco fish bags and empty water bottles there was not that much.
Hope to see some of you down there, look for the old grouch carrying a green shopping bag and accompanied by a Brittany Spaniel. I am going to retrain him to fetch the floating plastic bottles that are beyond my reach. He was fetching everything for me up until two years ago. He stopped after he grabbed a broken glass bottle and cut his mouth.