The Dam is No More and Birds Fly.

Years ago, but not so many that I wasn’t alive to see it, David Douglas built a pond on the brook that edged his fields. That was decades ago. The (thanks, google) map below shows the pond, in the lower right. The pond never really got a name, not one that the cartographers ever got wind of. We usually called it “Douglas Pond”.

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Once upon a pond…

In all the decades that that pond was, I never managed to pull a fish from its water, though they must have been there. Every few years I would go try, once more, to catch something, and each time I would fail. How odd it was to have a pond be so dead to my line.

Last spring we got the news that “Douglas Pond”had been undammed, and that that pond was no more. Now I can say that I have outlived a pond. The photo below (thanks, google) shows the pond late last spring, not too long after the draining.

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Some areas of standing water remained, but the pond as it was was no more. In the upper right you can discern the “delta” of the brook’s inflow.

We decided it was time for another visit to the unpond, to see what

Fall colors are starting to blaze. In the field where we’re walking, which was mowed during the summer, a patch of yarrow makes a second attempt at flowering and seeding, trying to beat the coming frosts.


Second-growth yarrow in the October Tiasquam valley.

From the late yarrow patch you can turn to see where the pond was. We flushed some ducks.


Flushed ducks, Tiasquam Valley.

We admired the departing ducks, and admired also the advance guard of plants, which after a successful season of growth were turning tan and gold and russet and brown. In a few more years, willows, alders, swamp maples and other wet-tolerant woody plants will move in.

After taking a look at the Great Pond, whose level is rising higher after our recent rains, we watched a noisy flock of blackbirds in an oak across the cove.


Foraging blackbirds.

The blackbirds noisily screeched and chattered. Then came a silence, followed by a sudden waterfall of wingsound as the flock took to air.


We headed home, coming out of the valley into the flat, recently manured fields, where geese grazed on new grass.


We edged over towards the fence to try to not bother them, but nonmigratory geese hunting season was a few weeks ago, and they had no desire to remain when dangerous humans had suddenly appeared. They took off and headed south.


From this field you may see a fine view.


Of downtown West Tisbury.







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