Duck pond at Blackheath

Blackheath duck pond is close enough to my garden to be my personal water feature. Hardly  a day goes by without me wandering past it.

The traction engine below was used to excavate the original dams, which evolved into the  pond. The dams were used to hold water for steam trains on the Great Western Rail Line.

Traction engine in Blackheath park.
Preserved in the park.

Many years ago the council begged some mallard ducks from Bathurst to stock the pond…and nearly went broke feeding them on wheat. They would have been better off waiting for the beautiful native wood ducks to arrive and multiply.

Wood duck family
Wood duck on Blackheath duck pond
Mother wood duck on golden pond,

A Little Pied Cormorant is a regular visitor. Never seems to catch much as far as I can tell. Maybe it eats underwater.

Pied Cormorant
Admiring the azalea reflections in spring.
PIed cormorant drying off
Hung out to dry.

This fellow seems to live the most lonely and tedious life. It sits at the same spot 90% of the time, on a little wooden ‘landing’. I have never seen any sign of a partner. No wonder  he (or she)  often looks fed up.

Pied cormant at Blackheath duck pond
Looking aggrieved.

The pond is surrounded by trees, many of them deciduous.

Duck on Blackheath pond
Foraging among the leaves.

All too soon, winter arrives at the pond.

Blackheath duck pond.
Play of light in winter.

Duck in winter.
That does look cold.

Those frosty morning arrive, adding another form of  beauty,

Frost covered leaves
Jack Frost visits dying leaves.

In mid winter the pond actually freezes over. Look, someone ‘tested the waters’ with a tennis ball.  Mind you, the Wimbledon final was on the night before I took this shot, so it might have been a wild shot from a very big hitter.

Tennis ball on frozen Blackheath duck pond.
The big freeze.

Takes all day to thaw sometimes.

Ducks on icy Blackheath pond.
Ice demarkation line.

It’s only July, but in the bare branches of the cherry trees blue wrens sit among buds that are already swelling.

Blue wren at Blackheath duck pond.

If winter’s here can spring be far behind? The wood ducks have paired up and will soon be looking for a tree hollow to nest in. Eventually, another little brood will fledge and be  escorted to the pond.

Male nd female wood duck.
Mr & Mrs W. Duck
Wood ducks a’wooing
Cherry tree and Blackheath duck pond
Spring arrives.

UPDATE – OCTOER 2020 Sadly, the condition of the duckpond has greatly deteriorated in the last 12 months. My queries to council have gone unanswered, but I understand there are ‘multiple issues.’ I would be happier if they even removed some of the rubbish before more extensive restoration. The giant rhododendrons are looking as magnificent as ever, and the swimming pool is being prepared for the summer season. Only the duckpond is a shameful blot; smelly and unsightly.

Old tyres in Blackheath duck pond.
Sad state of Blackheath duck pond.

It is hard to imagine self-respecting wood ducks bringing their little ones here…..or humans bringing theirs for that matter.

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