April – Red Bud Isle

It’s April, and this time of year means a lot of different things. We’re finally in full swing of spring (which seemed to almost never arrive this year), Austin is looking greener than ever, and we’re starting to feel the dry, Texas summer heat. Most importantly, though, it’s nearing the end of the semester! Right now, it’s crunch time, and I’m loaded with a bunch of papers and tests to study for, so I could only find time to make a couple trips to Red Bud this month (due to being out of town as well), but taking some time out of the craziness and stress to finish up my observations here takes some of that burden off of my shoulders.

…the most fun lies in seeing and studying the unknown. – Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Observing this area has really been fun. Now, I’m so accustomed to the area and coming here that at this point, I don’t really go out of my way to make observations. I choose a spot and just sit with my notebook or computer, taking notes of what I hear and see around me. Now that we finally have some steady sunshine, I like to sit out on the end of the Isle on the roots of the massive tree noted in my previous posts. The view is beautiful, the breeze is nice, and I can see everything that’s happening in and around the water surrounding the Isle.

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One significant change happened during this month: bugs! Bugs are everywhere now. Since we’ve had pretty steady sunshine for over a month now, a lot of the insects and birds are starting to become more visible. Dragonflies were the most prevalent insect I observed; they loved to buzz around the water’s perimeter.

Other very active insects I noticed were butterflies, moths, and caterpillars. While sitting under the tree taking notes, one caterpillar fell straight on my lap! Unfortunately, I was startled, so I freaked and slapped it off of me (sorry Mr. Caterpillar). While my friend Kate was sitting, a pretty cool moth landed on her leg long enough for her to take a picture!

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Although I still can’t see much actual wildlife, the signs are more apparent. What once was a silent, solemn (but beautiful) place to observe earlier in the year has become a vibrant, colorful area with wildlife booming around it. Bird chirps are constant and various; it sounds like there’s more species variation then I had previously expected (even if the species are limited to just birds). The noises come from not the Isle itself but the surrounding hill/forest area, where the brush is more condensed and the animal life is probably more prevalent.

People are out and about more than ever, and can I blame them? It’s been gorgeous outside the past couple of trips here. I happened to sit next to a small group of guys fishing, and while they seemed experienced, they never caught anything for the duration they were there. According to some research I did on the river area, fish population is pretty minute so it’s probably not the best place to fish, but they seemed to have fun doing it anyway.

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