Over the many years I have visited or lived on Flannagan Pond, I have seen so many changes. Oak Ridge Drive was just being built when I was a kid. The Calvin Street extension cut off my winter snow mobile trail into the woods across the pond. And I have seen huge changes in the wild life around the pond.
In the 60’s and 70’s our family would visit my grandfather on the pond. It was a fantastical place of imagination. Huge pine trees, rope swings over some swampy area of the pond, and just lots of places to hide and hunt the elusive “Chug a Rumps”! This is a name we came up with for the huge man eating Bullfrogs that once existed here. You had to be very careful catching these. If little boys got to close to the water, the prehistoric Snapping Turtles would devour us. I am sure some of these creatures still exist but they must be very good at hiding now.
I am a wildlife lover; I love all animals. Some are down right tasty. Many people hate the beavers. Also, I have found that the beautiful Swans, Herons and Geese are far more dangerous than those prehistoric turtles. I think the herons have eaten all my Chug a Rumps and snakes (sorry but I never said I love snakes). The geese have naturally fertilized every inch of my back yard. I now have a green “Slip ‘n Slide” to the pond. But now the most dangerous creature to face on the pond is the white trumpet swan. You take your life into your hands if you are caught paddling a kayak on the pond when these B52 waterfowl bombers try (and I do mean try) to take off. The sound waves alone are enough to knock you off your perch.
So I have seen just a few changes in habitat in my short life. Some residents don’t want the pond changed or cleaned up. I hate to tell them but many years ago the pond was literally a dumping ground for trash. The Ayer Landfill continues to pour toxic run off into streams that lead into the pond. Every year in the past we made an attempt to clean up the pond, although almost futile for weeds–we have managed to bring more and more wildlife back from extinction. As bad as the winter of 2011 was, I saw these gorgeous brown 4 legged creatures tour the frozen tundra of our town. They were so cold they raised their white tails to surrender to the winter. The more we build houses in this very small town, the more we have to deal with wildlife. I, for one, would rather deal with my mean eating Chug a Rumps than the wildlife found on most college campuses.
And I didn’t even get into the dreaded swamp gators that lurk in the murky depths.
This is another Guest Post by Warren Ball
Photo by Michael Tracy