Hernandez, January 2015

“It is fortunate, that no matter how intently one studies the hundred little dreams of the woods and meadows, one can never learn all the salient facts about any one of them.” -Aldo Leopold

I first visited Bauerle Ranch Park, also known as Slaughter Creek Greenbelt, is a park which is not far from my house on Friday January 16th. It is a large suburban park that encompasses 306 acres with 3.1 miles of trails. It use to to be a working ranch that still has some of the remounts of its past. It was 55 degrees and sunny. I saw a dragonflies and a variety of song birds such as cardinal and mocking jay. I also walked over a dry riverbed of Slaughter Creek. There was evidence of large animals but I did not observe any up close, such as feces of a certain animal and deer track. The trees where mostly Live Oak trees and lined the dry creek bed, but also some prickly pear and Christmas cholla a thin cacti that forms into a small shrub like shape that has a bright red fruit. The typography was interesting with a mix of grasslands, woodlands, and aquatic systems. I was not able to explore the entire park since it is so huge, yet it is an amazing park with a diversity of plants and animals that is surrounded by a suburban neighborhood. It interesting to see how suburban ecology thrives if it allowed it own space.

The next week I visited again on Monday 26th it was also a warm day with temperature at 70 degrees. Though due to the recent rains there was water in the creek and it was flowing rapidly. It was a completely different park than the one I visited a week before. Due to the water flowing very quickly this made it difficult to get to the other side of the park, yet I was able to cross the creek over a damned part, which created a large pond. I also saw Spanish moss clinging from a tree. I also a couple of species   of butterfly. There was also more evidence for large animals there where deer tracks but also skunk musk in the air. I also saw and heard the scream of  a red tail hawk, and in one of the retention ponds I saw a Great Blue Heron hunting for fish. From that retention pond it formed a small stream that connected to the creek. After looking at the stream I went another way trying to explore more yet I found myself trapped on one side of the park with no way to cross the creek. I finally was able to get across after jumping from island to island. I was able to see the water cycle within the park. The water flowed from the pond formed a small stream which then connected to the creek which is part of a larger Slaughter Creek Watershed. It is a huge park and I have much more to explore.

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