Changing the habitat

The swamp last summer

... and this summer.

When we moved in, the swampy area behind the pond was strictly a vernal pool. By late summer you could walk across only slightly mucky-footed.

Then Randall became fascinated with tadpoles, turtles, salamanders and all the rest of the herp crew. We closed the culvert and allowed the swamp to fill. Eventually it was over 2 feet deep and flowed over one side of the berm during deluges.

Last year we had some exploratory work done on the septic system and realized it had water where it oughtn’t to be. The water table in the lower part of the yard was way too high (something I’d been saying for years as I squelched along the clothesline). After a lot of anguish, handwringing and “Where is the culvert, anyway?”, we drained the swamp, and while not quite up to our asses in alligators, we did spend a lot of time netting out all the inhabitants and releasing them in the larger pond.

It’s been a dry spring and summer so far, and we’re forecast a week of 90 and above with no rain in the forseeable future. The swamp is dry. Raccoon and muskrat footprints crisscross the mud, while holes show where they have dug up crayfish and other critters trying to survive by burrowing. Catbirds also relish the easy-to-catch tadpoles wriggling in wet spots.  It’s the change you see after a beaver dam breaks.

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