For my final entry blog I will be writing about my findings when I went to Blunn Creek Nature Preserve once a week on Friday for a month between the times of 630 and 745. I will also be writing a summary of all the nature blogs I have written and what I have learned over the course of this semester. It should be said that I went with my friend and classmate, Andrew Malesky a couple of times, so the pictures and data gathered might be similar.
Despite the sunshine, there was always a nice breeze that cut through the trees at this time during the month.The flowers on the cacti are now either blooming or in full bloom. The sign always amuses and makes me sad because the city has laws that strictly forbid alcohol and glass bottles in the park with a fine of $500 dollars each. Obviously the city just does not have the man power to enforce these laws as there is litter and shattered glass bottles to be found in the creek and in various parts of the preserve.
Compared to my last blog entries, the trail in this picture shows that spring is in full swing as flowers and other vegetation has completely taken over and narrowed the trail significantly. Andrew and I even got lost a couple of times because the paths look so different. Throughout the month I saw plenty of rabbits and heard many coyotes as the sun began to set. Birds could be heard and seen in flight everywhere in the preserve. I really believe that Blunn Creek is an natural oasis in an urban desert for wildlife and vegetation to prosper and flourish, making it an invaluable plot of land that should be respected and maintained.
On April 11th I decided to go to the volcanic overlook in Blunn Creek, it was a bit more humid and warm than the week before. the first picture of the path below was taken on my way up to the overlook. I went with my friend who is an expert in identifying different local birds. On our hike up to the overlook we spotted cardinals, blue jays, thrushes, finches and a hawk. I think that despite the amount of litter here, the cut down trees in the picture below show that the city and volunteers do try to maintain the trails and the park to the best of their ability.
The sign in the picture below tells of how the whole preserve area was created through volcanic activity and plate tectonics.
The picture below was taken from the overlook on April 11th. It was a really beautiful view to see St. Edwards towering over all the trees and nature of the Nature Preserve.
The next two photos were taken on April 18th, the weather was significantly cooler, and as the sun started to set there was no where near as much wildlife activity as in previous weeks. There were hardly any birds chirping or animals scurrying about in the woods. I believe this is due to the cold snap we experienced this whole week as temperatures never got above 79 degrees and temperatures dropped to 30 degree lows. The only notable part of this venture is how strong a presence the flowers have in the preserve. This is just a taste of how many blooming flowers are present in the preserve, they are everywhere! It really was a unique experience to see Blunn Creek so vibrant and full of life at this time of year, I would have never guessed there would be so much activity in this relatively small preserve.
The next set of photos were taken on April 25th as the week warmed up dramatically, with highs of 88 degrees Fahrenheit and Austinites only experienced a low of 59 degrees at night. As a result, wildlife was active and everywhere to be seen running or flying about. On this venture I decided to go to the creek part of the preserve and take pictures there. The only downside to the warmer temperatures was the strong presence of mosquitoes and mayflies being everywhere, alongside with the unpleasent smell of built up trash decomposing at certain parts of the creek.
This tree really intrigued and confused me, as the white spots on the branches were not sunlight hitting them. The branches actually have white spots on them. If this were closer to the water, I would say it was a water mark left when the creek’s water levels were higher, but this is not the case. There were about 3-4 trees next to this one with identical white and brown bark, but I was unable to find any other trees like this around the preserve.
I avoided taking pictures of the trash build ups for aesthetic purposes, in addition to any pictures I took never really did justice to the level of trash in this water way. You have to really be there in person and see with the human eye to truly comprehend the amount of litter present in certain parts of the preserve.
Over the course of this semester I focused on Blunn Creek for three out of the four nature blogs required for the course. I had the pleasure of seeing the preserve transform at different times of the day and observe the changes that take place between the Winter, Spring, and Summer seasons. Spending so much time in this preserve gave me an overall greater appreciation for parks and nature preserves as a whole. Generally people stick to trails and only go to parks and preserves on an inconsistent basis at various times with the intention of socializing or exercising. As a result they are not concerned with observing the changes taking place in the nature around them. These parks and preserves are not just for human use, they were made with the intention to allow humanity and nature to coincide equally, with no one side dominating the other. I hope that current and future students that do these nature blogs have and will gain a greater appreciation for the preserves and parks as a whole like I have.