“January observation can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow.”-Aldo Leopold
To start off my observations on Sunday, January 24th, I ventured to the pond on St Edward’s campus just beyond the library. I was not expecting much in the way of life in this run-off pond, but I was suprised at the wealth of activity, but first, I must set the tone. It was a mild day, almost perfect when I arrived at 4:50. The pond itself sits down twenty feet or so from the surrounding land. This is for its design to catch water during the rain. In fact, I would imagine it is three or so feet higher now with the rains from today. There was garbage laying around and in the pond, including many plastic cups. I walked around the pond observing and picking up what I could.
The pond was surrounded by near two dozen or so trees. They varied in type and foliage. I personally was able to identify one willow not in bloom, along with several oak trees. The other’s lacked leaves and I could not identify them. There were also shrubs that I believe were planted for their looks, along with a plant that produced small blue-colored berries. Along the bank was grass, some of which had been recently been wet, probably because of the storms of late last week. The pond was filled with reed’s, most of which were dead, but there was a patch that was still very much alive. The pond had a layer of scum at the very edge, and a very mystical-looking blue tinted substance.
At first, I noticed no more activity than a few squirrels and sparrows in the trees. A man was sitting with his dog across the pond from me. I then noticed a flock of nine ducks that were entering the water. They swam around, sometimes ducking under the water for what I can assume was their dinner. They reminded me of my father taking me to fish as a child. I also noticed a flock of black-colored birds with a little white strip on their sides nesting in the reeds, which flew back and forth among the reeds.. Along with those birds, I heard some sort of frog or toad living under the dead reeds in the pond, but could not lay eyes on it. Minnows were seen in the shallows. The pond reverberated a thousand times over from insects touching the surface. I also saw some tracks on the bank of the pond, but could not identify them.
For my second visit of the year, I returned to Blunn Creek on the 31st of January from 1:45 to 2:45 in order to observe what I could. It was a rainy as I made my way over there. It was a muddy trail down to where I spent my observation time. On my way to it, I saw a rabbit. Through no intention of mine, I am afraid I must have scared him half to death. When I resumed my walking, he remained frozen in place. At least I was not a coyote, and he will see tomorrow.
Right by the side of the creek, the trail was a muddy slope that I carefully navigated down. The first thing I noticed was all garbage that had been caught in the creek and then caught on the shoreline. Plastic bits were everywhere. The trees were a variety of types. I could tell the oaks, but the others were too far away to grab a sample from. There was also some smaller plants and new sprouts along the bank. There was also moss on the bank. I tried to continue on the other side, but the mud proved to be a big challenge. The water was flowing quite a bit, and I actually managed to soak my feet on through. I tried to listen for animals, but the sounds of water and cars were all I could hear. I saw a few insects, but no wildlife. There was some fungus on a log that looked like fans sticking up in the air. It was certainly more quite then the other location. But, it was nice to see nature and just be in it, although I am happy to be back inside.