From all of us at The Squirrel Nutwork, enjoy your walks and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Well, isn’t this a treat. Here’s a visitor to one of our streams that we squirrels don’t usually see, and the name might tell you why: It’s a Black-crowned Night Heron.
These birds may be one of the most common species of heron, but they usually forage at night–so we diurnal animals don’t see them.
That said, Ol’ Wally here has seen one or two perched in tree branches in the daytime…and carefully backs away. Night herons always roost in groups, and though I hear they would rather eat fish, frogs and water bugs, there is no reason a smart squirrel like myself would test that.
I think you folks have heard from Nutmeg that we squirrels live in Reston, a planned suburb community. Several years ago those humans took it upon themselves to do a renovation to the streams running through town. Back then we weren’t running our blog, but we did soon after, and so Nutmeg had photo of the stream plantings the year after this stream nearest us got its makeover.
That’s Snakeden Branch in the spring of 2012, and here it is again this week.
It’s a spring view versus a summer view, but I think it’s clear these plants love it. Viburnums, Elderberry, Jewelweed…they fill the little stream valley and give us wildlife lots of places to hide as we trek to the water on these hot days.
Thank you, Reston humans!
Ol’ Wally here is having a hard time this year with these assigned letters. So pardon this old squirrel if he, er, cheats a little on O and uses the shape.
Can you readers see that? The pools in this reconstructed stream are O-shaped.
Right, good. But why, you may ask? Our Reston streams had become scoured with run-off from parking lots, so much so that the banks were undercut and soil flowed off with every storm. The lakes were filling with sediments almost faster than they could be dredged. Neither the streams nor the lakes were healthy in this condition, so the humans in charge decided to reconstruct the streams and give their banks new rock armoring.
Two years later, we have trees growing right at the stream edges again and a squirrel can walk right to the edge to get a decent drink.
I’m Coney the Pine Squirrel, The Squirrel Nutwork’s Colorado Field Correspondent.
Ol’ Wally has let me have his water column during this alphabet challenge to give you folks an update on my home in Jamestown Colorado. Back in September a flood damaged much of this mountain town in the Front Range. If you’d like to read my report from back then, start back at September 15th and read the blog. Some of my best photos are October 5 and October 10th.
These days the creeks are getting a rebuild.
Flood debris like tree trunks have been removed (so it doesn’t damn up the creek again), some portions of the stream beds returned to their previous channels around human homes, and giant boulders are being dredged from the creek and brought in to armor the banks. A lot of snow has fallen in the mountains this winter. The humans, and us wildlife, are afraid the spring run-off will be high and bad for the damaged flooded land.
It looks a lot different. The creek is deeper. Wider. It’s harder to get down to the water over the boulders. But they worked real hard to save our trees and keep the water out of the woods and human homes. Hopefully I can make another report when the work is done. They still have a lot of rock out there to put places.
Thanks for letting me share with you on C day!
A note from Nutmeg:
C is also for Challenge, as in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. If you haven’t hopped over to the A to Z website to see all the great blogs listed, here’s your link to do it: A to Z. We are number 1951, registered March 31. We kind of procrastinated in signing up, but so did many other bloggers. That ‘SC’ after our name means we’re a science blog. if you’d like to read more science blogs, look for more labelled SC, and have fun visiting!