Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Diamond in the Rough

When I consider it, I am amazed that the Depot Pond, as it has come to be known, continues to exist. My wife and I first discovered it when we use to do a lot of fishing. That was thirty or more years ago, back before the Home Depot was even there. That red brick building in this photo in the sweet spot at the end of the pond are Sheriff's offices. It wasn't there at the time either. The pond itself, I estimate, is roughly five football fields in length or about five hundred yards long. I don't know how that would translate into acres. It is maybe 1-1/2 - 2 football fields wide.

It has probably survived because it is under wetlands protection. It's actual owner is unknown to me. I call it a diamond in the rough because there are a lot of industrial businesses surrounding the pond. In this image, Home Depot is behind me and this building on the far side of the pond is an insulation company.

A CSX train track runs along the edge of the pond, the sunny area in this photograph. It mainly carries coal to a power plant in southern Maryland. I chose the wrong polarizer to take these three images. I used a blue and gold polarizer which I really like, but I should have used a simple polarizer. Leaves facing left turned blue and those facing right turned gold.

It may look fairly rural from the first three images, but I assure you it is not. From this vantage point, you can see St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic church not too far away on the main road through the town of Upper Marlboro. Those tracks are right on the edge of the pond. Those dead trees are standing on the edge of a second, smaller pond called Boundary Pond on the other side of the tracks.

With such a nice view overlooking the pond, you would think the Sheriff's office would keep their blinds open. But, they probably can't see computer screens with the light coming in so the view is lost on them.

The level of noise can be high, but most of it doesn't seem to disturb the wildlife. Except for the train whistle. When a train approaches the crossing at the main road leading into town, they sound a long warning. That normally causes the birds to take flight and leave the area for a while. Notice it didn't bother the Great Blue Heron in the foreground, though.

Andrews AFB and PAX River are both close, so there is a fair amount of military traffic. This is a DC National Guard jet loaded for bear. It was one of three that passed over the pond a couple days ago.

I never knew this was possible until I saw this a couple days ago. I guess you better know what the train schedule is if you are driving this vehicle. There is also a concrete (sand and gravel) facility across the street from the pond where concrete trucks are constantly coming and going. There is always someone talking over a loudspeaker at that business. It sounds like something out of the book, 1984.

This is another view of the main road going into town from the pond. Believe it or not, Boundary Pond lies between the trees and the road. Plus, the western branch of the Patuxent River flows under that bridge. With the exception of the jet photo, everything in the remaining photos is in a flood plain that was underwater following Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. That white truck at the top of the hill may have been above the flood waters.

Despite all that activity, all the noise, all the traffic — the pond hosts an incredible diversity of birds and other wild life. There is a revitalization plan for the area which could impact the pond even more so than it already is affected. The plan has been around for a number of years and doesn't seem to have really gone anywhere, so maybe the pond can continue to thrive for years to come.

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