Blunn Creek Nature Preserve at Night
The month of February was one with a lot of ups and downs in regards to temperature. This had a large impact on the activity of wildlife as on the 7th the high was 38 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 29 degrees, not including wind chill. The next Friday on the 14th, the high was 86 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 47 degrees. I decided to see how active wildlife was around dusk/nighttime at Blunn Creek Nature Preserve. Coming in on the 7th at around 7:00pm, bundled up tightly due to the cold weather, I couldn’t help but notice the new warning sign against coyotes in the area.
Due to the cold weather, there was little to no wildlife activity on the 7th, there were a few bird calls here and there but aside from that, it seemed like nature was asleep. There is a very interesting tree that seems to be growing out of a rock with a large burn mark, seemingly splitting it in two, since the area around it is relatively healthy, I like to think that this tree was hit by lightning and not a victim to a forest fire.
On the 14th the weather was much warmer and I noticed the plethora of cacti in the area, this one didn’t seem to be doing too well despite its green color. On my regular sitting spot I heard the trickling of what I could only assume was Blunn Creek down the plateau I was sitting on. The weather was much warmer so wildlife was much more active as I spotted two coyotes running off into the brush, and three rabbits running across the trail as I hiked in.
February 21st’s outing was cancelled due to me having to go back to Houston for a family event. But I returned on February 28th for two hours and went down from my rocky spot to Blunn Creek, the weather was crisp and nice, the coyotes have picked up in activity as I could hear them howling the entire time I was at Blunn Creek and on several occasions running and yipping through the bushes close by me. Wherever the coyotes weren’t the birds and rodents were highly active, as I spotted several rabbits, and possums. When coyotes were close, nature was seemingly at a dead standstill, no more woodpeckers or birds calling, no more small animals mildly disturbing the vegetation as they scurried by. Any movement I heard was quick large movements followed by howling and yipping.
It is obvious who the Apex predator of this ecosystem is. Doing some research I found this picture of a coyote taken by Clyde Bentley in Blunn Creek and an article detailing the population of coyotes in Austin. http://www.austinpost.org/article/travis-heights-coyote-population-threatened-city
One thing that made me very saddened was the amount of litter and trash in the creek that students throw from the plateau into the creek below. The graffiti on trees was also discouraging, such a large and beautiful piece of nature located in the middle of the city deserves to be maintained and respected. I plan on coming here on a weekly basis and pick up whatever trash I couldn’t carry out. The preserve isn’t covered in trash and litter, it just seems that any litter or trash that exists, seems to make its way into the creek.