[Tweeters] Mallard behaviour; RFI Texas Pond

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 5 09:10:03 PDT 2014

Dear Tweeters,

Yesterday, 4 April 2014, lone drake Mallards surprised me twice with their behaviour. First, I was driving on a logging road above the Sauk River in Skagit County. A drake Mallard sprung up from a roadside puddle as I drove by, near Caskey Lake, a pond in the foothills where I have never seen a Mallard. The duck was hundreds of yards from that small lake, in a forested area.

A couple of hours later, another drake Mallard surprised me even more. This was several miles away, at the Sauk Campground, which was deserted at the time. As I was walking through this heavily forested campground, a drake Mallard sprung up out of the leaf litter of the forest floor, at campsite number two. There wasn't a bit of water within hundreds of yards. The bird flew off with a few grunted quacks, heading for the Sauk River.

Another fun sighting yesterday was Northern Rough-winged Swallows. There was one at Corkindale, and a couple others showed up at Barnaby Slough. That was my earliest date for them in Skagit County.

Now to my question.

Yesterday was my third attempt in a week to visit Texas Ponds, a site that I have always wanted to visit. I have never quite made it there. All of my paper maps, and all of the online maps I have checked, seem to show a route to Texas Ponds via Christian Camp Road, which heads off from SR 530 north of Darrington, in Skagit County. However, I made two tries on that route, earlier this week, and failed to find a lake. There was one road that was too steep for my car, which might have been the road there. However, it also appears that one can drive to Texas Ponds via Caskey Lake, so I tried that. I had driven that road beyond Caskey Lake many times in the 1990's, but had never bothered taking it all the way south to Texas Ponds. Well, I got only 0.9 miles past Caskey Lake yesterday, when I came to a pile of boulders across the road, in a spot I used to drive through 20 years ago. It looks like the road was intentionally destroyed here, quite recently,
because there are multiple huge ditches dug through the road in the next few hundred meters of road. The slopes of the ditches have been planted with grass seed, including creeping red fescue, according to the seed sack labels left lying there. So, that route to Texas Ponds is now kaputt.

This same road, which I believe is FR 2811, also appears to reach Texas Ponds from the south, via Darrington. I did not want to drive all the way down there, especially with all the commotion going on after the mudslide.

So, does anyone have current information on how to get to Texas Ponds? Would it be possible to get there on FR 2811, or has the southern part of that road also been cut off?

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

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