Friday, April 09, 2010

CyFair Campus

I went on a quick camera-less walk along what's left of the campus nature trail yesterday morning. The Western Kingbirds still haven't arrived but the front brought in a few other birds. A couple of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Gray Catbirds made brief appearances, as did the first Yellow-rumped Warbler I've seen for over a week.

A burst of odd and ugly noise told me that Yellow-breasted Chats were back and, sure enough, I caught a brief glimpse of one pottering around in the undergrowth. (That's year bird #149.)

Once again I was surprised not to see any snakes. The campus has always had lots of snakes, particularly Cottonmouths, which presumably prey on the many rats and other small mammals that live in the prairie grass that is a prominent feature of our wildscaping. So, when all the construction started, I expected to see snakes as they moved onto the few remaining untouched areas of the campus. (This is certainly what happened when we lived in California and they started construction near our apartment: Rattlesnakes suddenly appeared all over the apartment complex as they fled the destruction of their habitat.) However, so far I haven't seen a single snake at CyFair this year.

On a related note, I am glad to report that we still have at least one coyote left at the college. I see its tracks almost every time I go out walking. Coyotes are such great survivors that I expect ours will adapt to its new habitat without too much difficulty. As I also regularly see the tracks of small mammals (rabbit, possum and raccoon), I doubt that the coyote will go hungry any time soon.


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