The Raleigh Naturalist

November 22, 2008

Pigeon House Branch

     A great blue heron browses Pigeon House Branch where it crosses over a granite outcrop.  The scene is tucked away in a very industrial part of central Raleigh – Capital Boulevard’s warehouse district, where the creek flows through huge kudzu-covered ditches on alternating sides of the thoroughfare.  Pigeon House is the most prominent waterway in central Raleigh, but also its most abused. (last text link is info, all others are pictures).

sw-tributary_1_1The streamwatch station denotes a creek under these storm sewers at the SE edge of Cameron Village.

Transportation Plan map of Pigeon House creek

  It gathers its headwaters in Edna Metz Park  just off Cameron Village, and this upper part of the creek was shifted and ditched in order to build Cameron Village.  From Edna Metz, concrete culverts carry it through Cameron Park and east down Johnson Street, where it crosses under Peace Street to be culverted again through the former Devereux Meadows, which is now a city facility for trash trucks and a salt barn.

    Flowing north beside Capital Boulevard, the creek drains two railroad lines as well as a massive entertwining of concrete roadways.  A highlight of this stretch is the Light+Time art tower, which presides over the union of Pigeon House with the waters from Fred Fletcher Park. As it borders the service road for the warehouse strip, it finds the rock outcrop frequented by the heron. It dives under Capital to emerge almost underneath the venerable Watkins Grill on Louisburg Road, then criss-crosses Capital back and forth again before heading east toward Crabtree Creek. We will pick it up at The Foxy Lady and follow it down to Raleigh Swamp another post soon.

The heron has found a beautiful spot in unlikely territory.  As the city makes efforts to rehabilitate its tributaries, Pigeon House Creek continues to flow as naturally as it can through northwest downtown.  We should notice it and help it out anyway we can.

Pigeon House Creek photo sequence

(from Cameron Village to Dennis Ave and Capital)

All RN post on Pigeon House Branch

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