Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dry Pond 2011

The pond has been dry for many weeks. It certainly has a look of drought about it. With a week of rain forecast for this area, I thought I should check out the pond bottom before it once again goes under water.

Cautionary Note to grammie g- Spider Ahead.

Each heavy rain brings in a small bit of sediment from the road. Larger soil particles, such as sand and silt, settle out of the moving water as it slows to cross the lawn. By the time the water reaches the pond, the only soil materials left in the water are the fine clays. Over time, a layer of clay has built up on the pond bottom. As it dries, the clay mass shrinks to form individual clay plates separated by jagged cracks.

The pond doesn’t provide much of an aquatic habitat during the late summer. Animals that used to come here to drink have all changed their patterns to take advantage of other water sources. Drought tolerant aquatic life waits beneath the dry crust for water to return.

The rushes stay green as long as there is moisture in the soil below. Their present green state is the result of late spring rains that kept water in the pond for an abnormally long time. The rushes will yellow if the moisture disappears, but they grow back quickly enough when the water returns.

There are a couple pieces of old barn siding that have been floating around the pond for the last 15 years. I once used a piece of siding to support my weight as I walked out across the mud to examine something in the disappearing pool of water. When I went back a couple of days later to put the siding away, I found a salamander hiding beneath the board. I just left the board where it was rather than relocate the salamander. The board has since broken into two pieces and each has been reduced in size, but they are still providing shelter to creatures on the pond bottom.

There’s always something living beneath the boards. This hole suggests that I should find something interesting here.

This Wolf Spider might be doing some swimming when the weather changes. The gold stripe running between the eyes and back onto the carapace indicate it’s a species in the genus Pirata. I enjoy observing the pond bottom as it alternates between aquatic and terrestrial habitat. There’s always something interesting to see.


  1. Ha! So very thoughtful of you to shout out a warning to Grammie!

    (Personally, I found Wolfie to be quite handsome.)

  2. Yes, Wolfie gives some great personality to the dry pond. :)

  3. Hi, Jain. I've gotten in trouble in the past for scaring grammie g, so I thought the warning would help keep me safe.

    Hi, Lois. Yes, I was lucky to find such a cute spider beneath the board.