Ducks in January . . . bats in March . . . rain lilies in April . . . meteors in August . . . the predictable appearance of fauna and flora allows humans to experience the natural cycles in the environment, no matter how urban the setting. In Nature Watch Austin, avid amateur naturalists Lynne and Jim Weber provide an introduction and guide to some of the natural events that define the seasons in the city of Austin, Texas, and its surrounding areas.
Month-by-month, each chapter profiles the plants, animals, insects, and other natural phenomena that are particularly noteworthy at that time of year. The authors also provide suggestions on how and where to see them – from driving to a nearby water treatment plant to lounging by the backyard bird feeder. Opening with a chart on weather, temperature, and daylight hours, each month's chapter features photographs and original illustrations by the authors. A list of references includes area field guides and more in-depth sources of information by subject.
No matter how clogged with traffic and entombed in concrete, even large cities harbor wildlife and support a community of plants, either in tucked-away places both familiar and unexpected, or in parks and preserves dedicated to city dwellers in search of open space. Learning the annual rhythms of "urban wildland" encourages everyone to be in tune with nature and welcome the opportunities to enjoy it, year after year.
Lynne Weber and Jim Weber work at IBM in Austin, where she is a senior manager and he is a senior engineer. Both are certified Texas Master Naturalists, and Lynne is past president of the Capital Area chapter. The Webers are dedicated naturalists who conduct bird surveys, monitor and map invasive species, write nature columns for neighborhood newsletters, and lead nature hikes among their many outdoor activities..
"Bite-sized entries make it easy to nibble here and there, but I was drawn to consume the full course meal of Central Texas's natural wonders prepared by the expert chefs Jim and Lynn Weber! [...] I eagerly urge budding naturalists and newcomers who want a solid education of our region's ecological heritage to check out this book! Even experienced nature lovers will unearth new revelations in these pages [...] The Webers not only educate and inspire, they empower their readers through suggestions on activities and ways to get involved in organizations, programs and projects that support the cause."
– Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center