For this month’s entry in my Travis County Almanac blog I didn’t get the chance to go back to San Antonio and make observations so I thought I’d make my observations in the woods behind my dorm at St Edward’s University. The woods are a bit of an extension of the Blunn Creek nature reserve and even though it is small the woods are a great place to spend an afternoon exploring through the thickets of trees. I sat underneath the branches and took in everything that was a round me. The birds chirping echoing out through the woods, the array of insects on the ground and the trees. Beneath the canopy of branches it was nice and cool. In the bursts of sunlight you could see the strings of spider webs connecting the trees.
On my third observation I decided to go to the forest at night. It was a clear cool night and the moon hung above the trees glowing on their branches. I went back to the familiar clearing I had done my previous observations and stood underneath the moonlight taking in my surroundings. I could hear the faint sounds of a cricket chirping but other than that there was near silence. Every now and then there was a rustling in the bushes but unfortunately no wildlife emerged from the bush. It was a nice change up to my standard observations and allowed me to see what the woods looked like from a different perspective.
During October something else that was really interesting happened. During the second week of October I was watching a movie with a couple of the people in my hall in the basement of our dorm. All of a sudden this guy comes rushing down the stairs and says, “there’s a porcupine outside!”. At first all of us thought he was trying to trick us but after a little convincing we all left the basement and headed from the front door. And right there, beneath the bench at the front of the dorm, was a full grown porcupine. It was so bizarre and exciting, I had never seen a porcupine other than in the zoo and it was so incredible to observe one so up close and personal. It began to move about and eventually started hustling away from under the bench towards the side of the building.
There were about 15 of us all chasing after this creature we had never seen in the wild. The porcupine was really large, much bigger than a raccoon. It’s quills would remain at rest until someone got too close then they would shoot up quickly to remind everyone just how dangerous it was. Eventually in scurried back off into the woods and we let it be. It was shocking to not only see this creature in front of my dorm but also shocking when it made it’s way back to the woods. It made me excited for the next time I’d go out and observe to potentially see that incredible creature again.