Bat watching is one of Austin’s most unusual and most popular attractions. An estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats—the world’s largest urban bat colony—live in the crevices underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. Around sunset, the bats fly out en masse in search of food and return to the bridge before sunrise. The colony stays here from March through November and migrates to Mexico for the winter.
At March’s It’s My Park Day, I learned that non-profit Keep Austin Beautiful organizes periodic large-scale cleanups called Clean Lady Bird Lake. So this month I volunteered to pick up trash at Shoal Beach Metropolitan Park, where I had also worked in March. My motivation was two-fold: I use this section of the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail almost every day, and I knew that this area was underwater during the Memorial Day Flood.
Last week Tropical Storm Bill formed in the Gulf of Mexico and slowly made its way through our state. The center of the storm went east of Austin, so we were grateful to be spared the worst of the wind and rain. Since our ground was still soaked from last month’s Memorial Day flood, some low-lying areas experienced flooding again. Local lake levels rose significantly, and our landscape became a healthy green again.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. – Dolly Parton
As predicted, Central Texas was hit with more severe thunderstorms today. Starting around 1:30 PM, three major storms came through the downtown area. Saturday’s storm was more severe, but today’s storms brought more rain to our already-saturated city, as much as five inches in four hours.
For the past week, local forecasters had been predicting bad weather for Saturday. A fast-moving storm came through in mid-afternoon, but that turned out to be just a gentle warm-up for the evening’s activities.
Since summer is, by far, the longest season in central Texas, we are very appreciative of relatively-short springs. Temperatures start getting warmer in mid-March and typically don’t become unbearable until June. This spring we are getting plenty of rain, although not always over the lakes which supply our water needs. Every little bit of moisture now helps during the hot summer months.
Oops. I spoke a little too soon when I complained in November that we went directly from summer to winter. We did have a rather nasty spell of cold weather last month, but once that front moved out, fall had arrived. At least the trees and squirrels think that’s the season now.
One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the winter. (Henry David Thoreau)