Friday, September 14, 2012
by Susanna Hamilton
When was the last time you visited one of our locations here in the West Eugene Wetlands? A year ago, perhaps a month or a week ago, yesterday? I thought I would offer a little temptation to lure you out to enjoy this lazy end of summer in these wild places of our community.
Take a leisurely ride along the Fern Ridge Bike Path between Garfield and Greenhill to witness the industrious nature of our local beaver(s). There are three dens in this stretch that I am aware of, but you must pay attention to find them. At this late date in the season the willows are full, stretching their branches out to one another in attempt to hide the secrets along the banks of the creek. As well there is an easily identifiable dam across from the Tsanchiifin trail.
Looking to the ground, what's that I almost stepped in...? Scat! Blackberry season is upon us and along many of the paths you will find evidence of our local wild creatures having enjoyed the ripened blackberries. Come to think of it, there is nothing quite like eating blackberries straight from the bush, warm and juicy from the sun, or cool and refreshing in the shade. YUM!
If you listen carefully you can hear the Great Blue Herons calling. For their tall majestic stature, they have a call that is deep and throaty, almost a croak. Warm breezes whisper though tall, dried grasses, rustle through leaves, and cool our skin as we wander in the last days of remaining heat. Vultures soar on thermals overhead, and clouds meander by offering brief respites from the sun.
And let us not forget the pungent aroma of the Penny royal wafting on the wind. Even from my desk as I sit to write this, I can smell the richness of the wetlands as the wind beckons me to don shoes and hat and wonder through our beautiful and unique West Eugene Wetlands.