Tuesday, February 12, 2013

While the wild pigs hog all the attention, there is more to wildlife in George Bush Park

Large herbivores in the wetlands - some liked, others less so

No Hogs allowed in Wetlands Area?
So far the sign only mentions dogs
The wild pigs (feral hogs) are not liked very much, and have been in the news lately because Commissioner Radack wants to get rid of them, and feed them to the homeless.  

Meanwhile, the white-tailed deer are flourishing, and probably enjoy a safer future since no hunting is allowed in the U.S. Corps of Engineer's flood catchment areas behind Barker and Addicks dams, and nobody is proposing to capture these critters, which are also of quite impressive size and roam around the reservoir wilderness. 
Feral pig trap set up in George Bush Park
I have yet to spot a wild black pig (all I have seen is a trap set up to catch them), but the white-tailed deers are easy to encounter -- though shy -- and are a delight to watch  from the top of the dam at dusk. Usually they emerge in groups. 

I count nine (9) deer in the shot below - including males with antlers - but some are blurred because they moved during the longer-than-normal exposure time necessitated by scarce light at dusk and use of the maximum zoom-level.

Large group of white-tailed deer in George Bush Park at dusk Feb 2013

Did I say the deer are safe? 

But there is another hypothesis. Perhaps the wild pigs -- denounced as an invasive species -- do have natural enemies after all and this is what's left of one of them after wide-wings-pan predators with voracious appetites descended from the sky for a hearty meal. Just speculating here. We'll need someone who knows about bones, or at least molars, which are very prominent on the skull.

I did find a large feather near the skeleton of what was definitely a large animal. That's some circumstantial evidence at the scene. Probably black vultures. They are abundant in this area. 

Okay, maybe I should call them scavengers, assuming this was not actually their kill. They usually let the motorists do the killing on the highways, and then fly in for the clean-up. Which would not solve the mystery: If not the vultures, who or what brought down this large reservoir beast? 

This is what the reservoir grounds look like this time of the year: incipient green in many a place, but not everywhere. The area shown in the photo below is located right behind Barker Dam (East) and floods several times during the year after heavy rains. See photos of flooding conditions in the reservoir from last year by clicking the highlighted text in this sentence.  

The next pic shows the water-flow in the spillway and the landscape on the city-facing side of the dam. Seems just about right for the kayaking

Buffalo Bayou spillway at the Barker Dam flow control gate

No comments:

Post a Comment