El Mercado Park. January 10th, 17th, and 24th

Andre Alexander Arce


Dr. Wasserman

Ensp. 2324.02

Nature in El Mercado

    On dates January 10, 17, 24 I went to El Mercado Park in West Austin to go to the same location and observe my surroundings and the wildlife. Just coming out of a cold snap straight to the 60’s El Mercado park had dew everywhere, some parts frosted over, this melted very quickly later in the day, so the grass and dirt were very very soft and moist. Squirrels and Rabbits live in abundance here as the park has a nice sized creek running through it. There are a few houses built on the boundaries and entrances of the park so as to have a whole park as their backyard.

On the 10th of January I arrived fairly early at am. and sat on a rock and watched some small fish swimming by. Wanting to get more natural data, I went to a slightly more secluded part of the park where it was more calm and natural. In the period of an hour I saw 5 squirrels, 3 rabbits, 6 fish of varying sizes, and numerous small birds.

    On the 17th of January, I went to the same place at around 6pm as the sun was setting, the cold was starting to come back already. At this spot there are many oak, birch, mountain cedar, and sweet gum trees, to name a few, of the numerous types of trees and foliage in the park. Apparently there were a couple of ant piles underneath my rock and next to the tree that was next to this rock. The reason I say this is that I noticed a numerous number of ants and they were killing each other, they were both fire ants so it was hard to tell which side was whose, if any. This was intriguing to observe as I watched heroic feats, dying comrades, and ants show their true brutality on this battlefield. By the time my hour was up, it seemed like there was no end to the growing pile of ants, always being refreshed by reinforcements as their dead were carried away to be eaten as food. This must have been the Iliad of the fire ant wars.

    On January 24th, 2014 the city of Austin had just gotten out of a hard freeze so there was much more ice and snow than usual. The park was mud or frozen in most parts. aside from the muddy areas it was very grey that whole day. I didn’t see much wildlife, save a few squirrels and a small deer near my spot. I did however, see 2 hawks, and one falcon fly over heard, obviously searching for food or shelter.

My spot, a few miles inwards to the park.

downloadAt the border of the park on the 10th


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