Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Habitat around the cabin

Where I live, the largest habitat around me is the forest that covers the mountain. It’s not the only one, though. Roundtop has many ponds of varying sizes, most created over the years as areas to hold water for winter’s snow-making. But a manmade pond is still a pond, and I doubt the flora and fauna that benefit and live around them know the difference.

Plants, like these cattails, thrive around the edges of the ponds. In turn, the plants create homes for frogs and nest sites for red-winged blackbirds, among others. Dragonflies are common in summer. Virtually every day I see the deer or foxes either going to or coming from the ponds, which is where they find water.

All in all, these manmade ponds are now thoroughly colonized by the same citizens as natural ponds, and everyone seems happy. I have often wondered where the deer and foxes would go for water, if the ponds were not here. A few seasonal streams rush down the mountain in springtime, but the only true source of open, natural water is at the bottom of the mountain, and in dry years, there is precious little of that.

Overall, the manmade ponds, I believe, have contributed both to the diversity of species I now find on the mountain and to the health of the ones that would have been here anyway, though likely would be found in fewer numbers.

If it’s one thing I’ve discovered about natural species, it’s that any of them that can take advantage of a human-altered landscape will. Somehow, the tiny cattail seeds found these ponds, carried on the wind, no doubt. Those seeds were the lucky ones, as who knows how many more fell on the miles of forest floor that surrounds this little pond. Those will never grow, as these have. Nature finds a way, eventually, to succeed against overwhelming odds.

1 comment:

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Nature is indeed resilient and adaptive. Often to an amazing degree. And I'm sure you're right about the role and benefit of all that extra water scattered about in the forms of man-made ponds. A thirsty whitetail doesn't care that the pond isn't natural, neither does a breeding pair of mallards raising their fuzzy brood, or a from harrumping in the cattails. Nearby water enhances your wildlife viewing potential immeasurably.