This month the Austin area saw some significantly higher temperatures. The day I went out and observed, it was 90 degrees out at 2:40 pm. I noticed a significant change in the amount of life and the varying life in Blunn Creek from March to April. Although I still saw a few rabbits making a run for it while walking the path of the nature preserve, the masses of blue bonnets that once lined the paths had been replaced with other wildflowers, red and yellow in color, tall grasses, and new sprouts on the cacti. I even saw one cactus plant with a beautiful yellow flower blooming, as you can see in the photo above.
At my usual observing spot by the creek bed, there was quite a bit of excitement. Besides the fact that the water levels were significantly lower and minnows were still present, there were some new creatures hanging around: water striders and numerous dragonflies. I only saw a couple water striders, but the dragonflies were a different story – they made it very clear that it’s mating season.
There were dragonflies of two colors present – blue and a neutral gray. It seems the blue ones were the males and that they were fertilizing the gray females by attaching their posteriors to the spot behind the head of the females. The females then had their posteriors in the water. I’m assuming this meant that they were laying their eggs in the water, but it seemed that they tried to place them on a leaf or stick submerged just underwater. I observed roughly thirteen mating couples and ten or eleven idle males waiting for a mate.
“Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow. Invasions can be arrested or modified in a manner to keep an area usable either for recreation, or for science, or for wildlife, but the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible.”
–Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac (199-200)
What I observed this month, from the beautiful cactus bloom to the odd site of the many mating dragonflies, I was once again reminded how precious nature is.