Category Archives: Ducks

Baird Hill Ducks and Mount Kilimanjaro

[I wrote this post on November 3, 2009.  I have been writing about the Baird Hill Pond lately and decided to bring this forward to the front page and make it public.]

This morning at about 7:15 a.m. CST, I spied a flock of ducks on the Baird Hill Pond.  This is my first trip by the pond since last Thursday (no ducks then) and with daylight savings time over, the dawn’s light illuminated the pond.  From my pickup, I saw a flock of about fifteen ducks, paddling in the middle of the pond.  Their presence shows that the pond sustains life.  Whether or not the pond gains additional flocks remains to be seen, but the pond may be reconstructing itself.

Mt. Kilimanjaro snow cap is melting fast.  Whether this is the result of global warming is unknown, but suspected.  Arctic Ocean is opening up, Antarctica’s ice shelves are breaking up, and second homes (MacMansions) disturb the Taos Indian annual rabbit hunt.  Baird Hill pond is losing its vegetation, but ducks are there today.  How many more canaries have to die before we stop the misuse of our resources?

New York Times article on Mt. Kilimanjaro



Photo by Stephen Morrison on European Pressphoto Agency, as cited in The New York Times link above.

I think it was Borges that wrote once that a dead jaguar was found way up the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, beyond his or her range by several thousand feet.  Why?  What so possessed the jaguar to seek the mountain, going beyond what was familiar?  Borges or whomever it was wrote a short explication of their theory.  I have mine and I shall post about it one day.


Filed under Ducks, Life Out of Balance

West Cut Pond on Baird Hill

Since 1998, I have looked at a beautiful stock pond along the West Cut of Baird Hill, on Interstate 20, near Baird, Texas, as I have driven to work in Abilene from Mingus, Texas.

The pond has deteriorated in health.  It was a pond that had rushes of cattails, deep-green sturdy stalks, three to four feet high, lining the pond all the way around except for a few places where cattle could water or a tree had fallen.  Ducks would fly in at the first cold snap in October and not leave until February or March.

The pond is set among hills on three sides, a spring-fed creek empties into the pond.  The interstate highway at the West Cut blockades the downstream portion of the pond, creating a kind of highway dam.

Last year and the year before, power poles with transmission lines as big as your arm were erected above the pond and on the hills to the north of the interstate in order to carry electricity from wind farms on the north and east side of Abilene.

When the transmission lines were nearly constructed, all the the green rushes along the pond died.

The pond lost water and is down about a foot or two.  At first, I speculated that the reeds had died as the result of some natural cycle, but that was not correct.  The rushes died because of contaminants from the transmission line construction, road construction for the power lines, the wind farm construction, or a combination of all three factors.  I did not take a water sample.  Not my land.  But, the owner of the ranch was just as surprised as I was about the change in the pond.  The reeds have not reproduced.

So, we have more electricity that is suppose to be clean.  It is.  But, in the method of setting up clean energy, nature is destroyed.  The pond is dying.

I will continue to observe the pond and will take photographs from the highway.  Hopefully, nature will resurge again along the banks of the pond.  And, I wonder if the ducks will stay long?  Will they even stop?



July 25, 2010, update: The pond has remained unchanged.  The color of the water has deepened to a blue-green and is not brown or brackish any longer.  The reeds still have not replenished.  I will attempt to take some photographs from the interstate for the record.  To connect the transmission line construction and the death of the pond is correlative.  I may be completely wrong in my hypothesis about cause and effect.  More proof is needed.


Filed under Ducks

No Ducks Yet on the Pond

There have been no ducks on the pond as of today.  There is a blue heron that comes every afternoon to feed at the pond.  The coldest front of the season is to drive temperatures down tomorrow night and Tuesday.  Perhaps, then, the ducks will fly in.

The photograph above, taken by Brenda, shows ducks in flight last winter.


Filed under Ducks

When Will Duck and Heron Return to the Pond?

Flying Hat Stock Pond

[Originally published on October 12, 2009.  This post has been updated to include commentary for the summer of 2010.]

The photograph above is our stock pond or cow tank that you read a lot about on my blog.  It is about fifteen-feet deep, but you can see from the photograph that it is down by three feet or so.  That’s not unusual.  The horses will wallow at one end of the tank, about where the camera is.

When will the ducks come to the pond this year?  Last year the first ducks arrived during October when there was a freeze line back up north of Mingus.

What will be the date of the first arrival this year?  I would like to build a duck blind so I can take photographs.

Sometimes ducks come during the summer and warm weather.  I think they must come from some of the large lakes around here like those on Celebrity Ranch and Possum Kingdom.

I would like to type the ducks and take photographs of them and post on the blog.

The health of wildlife is measured many ways.  One of the best ways is by a field count.  My field count is not graphed on paper, but daily observations occur.

I have seen no ducks for several months on the pond, not even the resident ducks that may stay year round at Celebrity or Possum Kingdom.

Just as important, I have not seen the Blue Herons alight on the south side of the pond for several weeks.

The health of the waterfowl on Flying Hat Ranch is unknown.  They are gone for the summer or have relocated.  I presume the Blue Heron will return.  I shall post about them when they browse in the pond.

The health of wildlife?  None are present for a field count.


Filed under Ducks, Flying Hat Ranch