“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.