Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Big Bird of Manchaug Pond - Does Flyover the Dam!

These photos were taken on Sunday - the heron heading down the channel toward Stevens Pond downstream.

Can you tell the difference between Manchaug's big birds when they are in flight? Note the heron has the long legs and beak...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Big Birds on Manchaug Pond: Non-migratory Canada Geese

Three breeding pairs of Canadian Geese arrived on Manchaug Pond in the spring...egg laying, hatching and rearing of young... now the flock numbers 17.

Taken a couple weeks ago on another overcast day, the photo shows the flock going from one shore to another looking for a lawn on which to graze. Why is that a problem? If you live on the lake you know first hand - one Canada geese produces from half pound to a pound and half of droppings per day! Talk about water quality being fowled - I mean fouled!

With Manchaug Pond having a higher population of summer residents than year round and with many working during the day... weekday meals can be had undisturbed.

Check out this link for control methods you can employ. In days of old we used to have a resident hunter or two on Manchaug Pond who would set up a blind on Blueberry Island but now residents must employ coyote decoys, scare tactics and barriers to keep them on the lake and off the beaches and lawns. Also do not feed the geese!

On this rainy day, neighbors used air horns to scare the geese off their property. Planting a buffer strip of low growing shrubs and trees along the shoreline will keep them from walking and flying in and also benefit groundwater and lake water quality.

I just heard honking as they fly over from Stevens Pond!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Rainy Weekend

A rainy, cool weekend! Sure smells like the end of summer...

Here tropical storm Danny is nothing to worry about. It has brought a couple inches of rain to the rain gauge with little to no wind.

Nothing to open the dam about.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Purple Loosestrife In Manchaug Pond Watershed and Shoreline

PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE (Lythrum salicaria)
For two years now I have pulled a single plant from the Manchaug Road roadside only to find this year loosestrife is scattered throughout the watershed!

This month 2 plants have been spotted in bloom on the Manchaug Pond shoreline in Area 2 - one by the big rock on Manchaug Road and the other at the Camp Blanchard shore.

It is also growing along roadsides of the watershed: Lackey Road, Douglas Road, Central Turnpike.

Purple Loosestrife, is one of the state's "MOST UN-WANTED AQUATIC EXOTIC SPECIES" as it can totally take over a lake - going from a sea of blue water to a field of purple and green plants. Ugh!

Up close it is an attractive, purple, herbaceous perennial introduced from Asia and Europe. In the US, it is aggressive and fast growing with no native "predator" species to control it. If left alone, it will spread rapidly filling our coves, wetlands and moist roadside areas taking over habitat and out competing native plants - "causing significant impairments, including reduced native plant coverage, lower plant diversity, and degraded wildlife habitat."

CONTROL: for the MPA of this new infestation - HAND HARVEST. This recommendation comes as part of our 2009 Aquatic Vegetation & Management Survey performed July 15th by Lycott Environmental, Inc.

Here's the plan:

See purple?

1. Stop the car, boat or feet.
2. Pull the plant out of the ground.
3. Burn it in the campfire - if no campfire, put it in a black trash bag, place in the sun until you can send it to the transfer station for incineration.
4. Do NOT compost.

I personally ask each of you, every property owner, to remove this plant from your property and help the MPA eradicate it from the watershed roadsides.

To read more about the Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project try this link:

A date is being scheduled and a group organizing to target another set of invasives. We will be sure to invite you! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seeing Purple!

Sorry I've missed a couple days of posting... busy caring for little ones as a new life entered our world... another child who will learn to swim and sail and ski on Manchaug Pond!

And with a visit to the hospital .... what should we find adorning the hospital room wall? Blown up, framed, and put in the center for all to enjoy as a thing of beauty!?! A photo of one of Massachusetts Most Un-Wanted Aquatic Exotic Species as named in the Massachusetts Lake and Pond Guide put out by the Mass Dept. of Conservation and Recreation Lakes and Ponds Program... Purple Loosestrife!

Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, will be the topic of tomorrow's blog entry as it relates to Manchaug Pond and our recent weed survey.

Stay tuned! The MPA has a new task force that needs you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preserving the Watershed for Doe and Three Fawns

Good to see you all at yesterday's Annual Meeting! It looked like standing room only but I did miss a few of you regulars who could not attend...

Reports and updates on our 319 stormwater grant projects, the monitoring and control of invasive weeds and the new Asian Clam infestation, water quality testing, and discussions of how our organization can grow to address current issues and future impacts on the lake and watershed... the MPA may be 42 years old but we remain at the forefront of the issues and activities that relate to Manchaug Pond. More than once we have wiped sweat from our brow in service to this lake and the watershed!

This fawn was all my camera could capture as it walked with the doe and two siblings in Area 3. Look to the far left to get a glimpse of the others entering the woods. It is common to see them grazing in the fields or walking from the wooded area of the Public Access Boat Ramp to a neighboring area. The white spots are still present on the backs of the three fawns. The move of the MPA to expand our present status as an organization to a larger non-profit can work to preserve not only our lake but also our watershed. We can build on past efforts with the Metacomet Land Trust and the Sutton Conservation Commission to protect open space and receive more lands for the Lake Manchaug Greenway and Wildlife Corridor. This larger non-profit will also allow us to accept the private grants we have had to refuse this year because of our current non-profit status and open the door to larger public and private grants to preserve Manchaug. And hopefully as the Secretary of Environmental Affairs states in his certificate for Manchaug Pond, we will be allowed to preserve the size and scope of the waters of this Great Pond.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No Rain, No Hurricane, NO WORRY for Manchaug Pond

Yesterday evening, Manchaug Pond escaped the rainstorms coming from the west only seeing dark clouds and a few minutes of rain drops.

Today brought humidity and a late morning sun shower to try to cool things off. No rain to talk about yesterday or today and looking at the forecast no worry for the rest of the weekend. Hurricane Bob is predicted to have absolutely no impact on Massachusetts, never mind Manchaug Pond and the "integrety of the dam."

No worry! Enjoy the last few days of summer! Some have already started back to school!

See You There! MPA Annual Business Mtg & Social

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dam is Front Page News Again - Blackstone Valley News Tribune

"State Wants to See Manchaug Pond Dam Saved" is the headline we found on the front page of yesterday's issue of the Blackstone Valley Tribune.

Also highlighted is a historical book written about John Whitin and his Whitin Machine Works empire.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Large Bird Takes to Manchaug Pond's Sky

Mid-morning, the lake is for our founding members and the retirees - no boats. A patriarch of the MPA sits on his porch taking in the sights and silence of the still lake. As our new "classic" speed boat, a 1967 Glastron V-156 Sportster, breaks that silence our patriarch give us the ritual greeting ring of the ship's bell as we pass by.

After a few minutes out in the middle, little did we know who we would meet out on the water....

... a large bird was seen flying low out of the west and coming toward us. Very large wings flapping - not a turkey vulture, not a heron - I immediately thought it was the eagle.

It flew high and directly above us seeming to check us out! But not the adult eagle seen this past week, and not an immature we suspected while viewing from the boat but


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lake Singletary Gets the Treatment

The August 13th issue of the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and the Lake Singletary Watershed Association website report Lake Singletary was closed yesterday, Tuesday August 18th, in order to receive two chemical treatments. One an algaecide for the control of nuisance algae blooms,

and the other an aquatic herbicide for the control of the invasive aquatic weed - milfoil.

The entire lake was closed after 2 p.m. to all activities from swimming, to waterskiing - anything involving contact with the water.

According to the article, the entire lake was to be treated with the algaecide and small coves and shoreline areas of Singletary treated with an aquatic herbicide.

Water use will be restricted for five days, until August 24th, with no drinking, irrigation and watering of pets and livestock allowed. Lake Singletary will re-open to boating and fishing today, August 19th. Warning posters around the shoreline alert users to the temporary water use restrictions.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More of the Manchaug Pond Eagle

Yesterday morning there were quite a few feathers scattered and floating down the channel.... I wondered if the eagle had anything to do with it...

The eagle was seen again on Sunday here at Manchaug Pond. How do you spot the great bird? How can you be alerted to its presence? Some have heard its cry here on Manchaug. More commonly the large bird is seen soaring off in the distance over the lake, swooping down to catch a fish, or eating its prize on Blueberry Island or on the old causeway. Adults have been seen perched in shoreline trees - its white head and tail prominent. Others note the movement of a small flock of birds in flight before the predator or seeing its large shadow on the ground as it circles above. If white head and tail are not present, you may be viewing a juvenile - immature bald eagle - as it takes 4 -6 years for the white feathers to come in. Two years ago, a mature eagle and 3 young were regularly seen here.

Thanks to our readers, Keith and Laura, campers at the Old Holdbrook Place we have the two photos below taken August 14th.

A bit blurry as it was taken with their small camera.... but they report having the SLR type with a mighty lens on hand so we are hopeful they will capture this majestic bird once again.

A few years ago, MassWildlife magazine published a story on eagles observed on the lower Merrimack River. The author, Steve Haydock, a retired Education Specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service writes: "The bald eagle is not only the symbol of our nation, but a symbol of hope for the conservation of our wildlife resources. This species is recovering from the impact of chemical pesticides, habitat loss, and misunderstanding. Not long ago the bald eagle was downgraded from federally "endangered" to "threatened" in the contiguous United States, their numbers a testament to their resilience and the strength of human conviction."

To subscribe or buy a gift subscription visit : The $6.00 subscription price ($10 for 2 years) is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family and friends. Keep on learning!

For more info and photos on eagles raising their young:

Monday, August 17, 2009

In Bloom on Manchaug's Shore: Cardinal Flower

My guess from a distance is Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis - a native herbaceous perennial plant which enjoys the rich moist soils and semi-shade offered along the woodland bank of a Manchaug Pond cove. It is a favorite of hummingbirds and a medicinal plant of the Native Peoples of days gone by.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday: The Eagle and Cormorants Among the Boaters

Saturday the lake was a buzz with many recreational boaters. Many! The sun was shining and everyone from the campgrounds and the boat ramp seemed to be out. Blueberry Island's had many enjoying the sand - parking their boats, setting up lawn chairs, coolers and even a tent for a little shade.

But what was amazing to me was that the eagle was there with us in the midst of all the activity and noise. We watched the adult glide over the island, swoop down at the curve on Manchaug Road to come up again and fly back over Blueberry heading toward Stevens Pond. A short time later a camper from Old Holbrooks, who had seen the eagle a couple days before catch a fish and eat it at the island, reported seeing the majestic bird fly over west cove.

Also swimming amid the jetski, skiers, tubers and pontoon boaters was a pair of cormorants who came to rest on the causeway near the channel sign to get a little sun.

To encounter such wildlife, makes all our efforts to preserve this habitat so worthwhile. Try this link to hear the calls of an eagle:

Thank you to our readers and members for joining us in this effort.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not on the Lake and Need a Place to Swim?

Feel like just cannonballing into a cool refreshing pond?!

Hot, humid weather is in the 5-day forecast. Don't have a place on the lake... not at a campground... want a place to swim?

How about the town beach in Sutton?
Marion's Camp on Lake Singletary. Just take Tuttle Road off of Singletary Ave up past the center of town. Here's the link:

The Sutton Town Beach at Marion's Camp is opened daily 12pm - 6pm.
Resident passes are $25.00 per household and non-resident passes are $50.00 per household. They are sold at the beach or the town hall. I don't know if they have a day rate.

If that doesn't work for you...

On Manchaug Pond, one campground offers day swimming and picnicking: the Old Holbrook Place. $4.00 each adult and $2.00 each child under 12, I believe. You can buy ice cream, candy, soda and chips at the store.

Or you could get the tent and the kids and try camping at one of the other two campgrounds:

And then again there is the campground at Aldrich Mill Pond just up the road: Sutton Falls Campging Area.

King's and Sutton Falls have large camps stores with groceries, small toys, and camping accessories.

Personally I have not camped at all the campgrounds so I cannot give any recommendations. I can only let you know what is available! :)

(Photos taken from respective websites.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Barefoot Skiers & Boating Hand Signals

The air temperature is 59F while the water temp. is 76F. Sunrise also finds a calm beauty on Manchaug Pond enjoyed by those with coffee mug in hand viewing from their porch or in the warmth of the house or for those in a wetsuit out on the lake for some barefoot skiing.

Here's a list of hand signals you can use while skiing or tubing to help communication between the boat's observer and the person at the end of the rope!

1 Speed up the boat: Thumb up.

2 Slow down the boat: Thumb down.

3 Cut Motor/Stop (also used by driver or observer): Slashing motion over the neck.

4 Turn the boat (also used by driver): Circle motion with arms over-head then point in desired direction.

5 Return to dock: Pat on the head.

6 OK or signal understood: OK signal with hand.

7 Skier OK after falling: Hands clasped over head.

Also take the online boating course promoted in the right hand margin!

For MPA Members, be sure to attend the MPA Annual Meeting to hear our speaker from the Worcester Sail and Power Squadron speak on Safe Boating!

Thank you to the MPA member/photographer for submiting today's photos and temperature readings!


Related Posts with Thumbnails