An Oasis in the middle of the concrete desert

I have spoken of drainage ponds in the past.  They are a tiny little oasis of wildlife in the middle of concrete jungles.  Here in Eastern NC (and also in Eastern SC) when you throw up a massive concrete jungle of a shopping center you are going to come up against the problem of drainage when it rains, seeing as you are displacing the soil which would otherwise absorb the rain.  If you do not want your shopping center parking lot flooded with water on a regular basis you build a drainage pond, giving the rainwater somewhere to go.  In a strange way of mother nature getting around things these drainage ponds quickly become a tiny ecosystem right smack in the middle of the shopping center. 

While they may begin life as a sterile man-made pond, over time wildlife makes their way to them.  Herons and Cranes land in them wondering perhaps that there may be fish in there.  There are no fish of course, but when the Herons and Cranes arrive and land in the water they are carrying fish eggs on their legs from walking in natural waters loaded with fish eggs. Turtles, being able to wander from water source to water source, slowly make their way to the new “creeks” . 

Soon these sterile man-made ponds become loaded with fish, the fish of course being in fish jail, there is no stream or creek by which they could escape their confines.  They are pretty much “fish in a barrell” and the fish eating birds know it. 

When my husband and I went down to Myrtle Beach for the New Year we were driving towards a Flea Market when I noticed out of the corner of my eye one of these ponds.  I was astounded at the wildlife that surrounded the pond.  Indeed the image at the top of this website is a shot of a Crane flying over the shopping center from the pond. 

I counted 13 Cranes, 4 Herons and dozens of Cormorants. There were several other water birds in there as well as a couple of Turtles.  As you can see from the stop lights this was a very busy shopping center, with constant traffic at the lights right next door to the drainage pond and yet the wildlife in there was completely oblivious to the comings and goings of the humans in their vehicles. 

Mother Nature will always get around things, note a weed sprouting through a crack in concrete for proof of that, or in a more profound version, note the amount of frogs who spawn in the water heavy mini golf courses that infest Myrtle Beach.  Nature will always find a way.


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