|4/23/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Sailor pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
Pilling’s Pond is an urban neighborhood gem – a somewhat secret one. In Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood, the property has been a waterfowl reserve since the 1920s. According to Wikipedia, 12-year-old Charles Pilling adopted three injured mallards and dug a small pond for them on the property where he lived. He spent the rest of his life breeding and caring for a wide variety of native and exotic ducks. Now supported by a nonprofit agency (Pilling died in 2001), Pilling’s Pond has grown to take up most of the half-acre lot. Anyone driving by on North 90th Street can see the pond and ducks swimming there. And yet I think of it as a “secret” because whenever I drive by, hardly anyone is there enjoying the wildlife.
Nilda and I have talked about sketching there several times, so after having lunch together this afternoon, we decided to visit Pilling’s Pond. Nothing keeps the waterfowl within the reserve, so presumably they can fly out anytime (certainly freeloading pigeons take advantage of the comfy ambiance by flying in), and also presumably some have already migrated north. But honestly – so well-fed and breeding in a safe sanctuary, why in the world would they ever want to leave?
That’s the question we pondered as we sketched, though not for as long as we might have liked. It started raining shortly after we arrived. (Nilda’s bird book identified this dozing couple I sketched as northern pintails.)