I’ve been living in Austin for a couple of months now, and I have grown familiar with some very unique wildlife. Learning these things was so fun for me, and I can’t wait to see what the other seasons bring.
From your favorite tree-hugging animal-lover, here are my initial impressions of Austin’s summer wildlife!
My apartment complex is full of a huge family of deer! Being here for two weeks, I have seen more deer than I have in my entire life. Even at Granny’s house I don’t see this many!
I’ve spotted four little fawns (smaller than Leben), several does, and even two massive stags with beautiful antlers.
These beauties are strangely friendly, and don’t seem to be scared at all of people or dogs. Leben doesn’t know what to do– he just stands stock still, staring at them from four feet away. Seeing them so close takes my breath away every time.
There’s a beautiful white dove living near the dog park that loves to rest on the fence. It is simply gorgeous. Until you’ve seen a pure white dove with your own eyes, you can hardly understand its uniqueness. Mourning doves just don’t compare.
In the early summer, I was blessed to catch the biggest wildflower season here in Austin. You’ve seen some of those pictures earlier on the blog (and certainly on my instagram…. I just can’t resist), so I won’t show too many here. But I absolutely cannot wait for next year. Did I ever mention that wildflowers are my favorite kind of flowers?
While my parents were here helping me move in, we encountered four BABY raccoons! They were the cutest little kitten-like dog-looking things you’ve ever seen in your entire life, and were so curious! I spent five minutes watching them scamper up a tree, peeking their little heads out to look at me every few seconds. Their striped tails were just adorable.
My apartment complex is wooded and full of birds, which means that I hear birdsong all day. Waking up to mourning doves and enjoying an evening mockingbird song really bring me joy.
Even though it’s hard to stretch that the Austin landscape could be considered “wildlife,” I still have so much admiration for the beautiful land here. There are rocky cliffs, beautifully wooded areas, and sparkling creeks and rivers EVERYWHERE. I am constantly surprised with the beauty of the hillcountry.
The strangest creatures wander Austin. I’ve seen furry black caterpillars crossing the sidewalk (that are apparently poisonous), leaf-looking praying mantises, rainbow-hued cicadas on my doormat, and the strangest little creepy crawlies.
A neighbor of mine mentioned that she even saw a giant silk moth on her door– 8 INCHES LONG!
Biting gnats? Or something? I now have to wear pants and socks to take Leben out to play in the grassy dog parks because I keep getting bitten by buggers that remind me of sand flies in the Bahamas. Wearing pants isn’t that big a deal unless it’s 98 degrees outside at 9am and you’re in black spandex. At least there’s not that many mosquitos!
Roaches. Let me say nothing other than that a two-inch long cockroach is the very LAST thing you’d wish to EVER find in your kitchen. And apparently, they’re just endemic to this area and not a result of cleanliness. They actually crawl out of the water pipes in the summer. Shudder.
Some plants are rather interesting as well. We have these alien-looking balls of plant fluff all over our trees that act as parasites and make twigs fall off. They look like something out of Dr. Seuss!
Several Austinites have warned me about poison ivy in public parks, which I have seen EVERYWHERE, and there are unbelievable amounts of grass-burr plants that leave burrs in Leben’s short fur and give me sincere pain when I discover them in my carpet. Stickers abound, even in normal grass.
Cacti. I never thought I would see so many in a place that wasn’t a desert, but here we are. People in Austin love using cacti decoratively in their yards, which is fine, but there are also an unbelievable number out in the wilder areas where I hike with Leben. This week he got a little too curious and stuck his nose straight into a prickly pear. Leben, I hope you realize we aren’t in Kansas anymore!
This is a whole new world for Leben and I! I am so excited for fall to come (in another three months…) so that we can spend more time outside in this gorgeous hill country. Here’s hoping the bugs will also start hibernating then, too. ;)
“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.” ― Steve Irwin