The Raleigh Naturalist

May 20, 2015

Raleigh Nature Starts a Shift Westward With Lake Lynn Residency

Filed under: About & reflection, Nature Lore, Rural Raleigh, waterways, West Raleigh — Tags: , , , , , — raleighnaturalist @ 7:25 pm
A red-throated loon shows his Springtime stuff at Lake Lynn  in northwest Raleigh

A cormorant shows his Springtime stuff at Lake Lynn in northwest Raleigh

Blog News June 2015
This blog always centered on a book project: The Natural History of Raleigh, which now exists as a finished manuscript of 25,000 words I am working to get published. Having retired from over twenty years as a special educator, my wife Cara and I are selling our Oakwood home and moving to Asheville, setting up book arts studios as well as a big garden and small greenhouse to grow food, papermaking fibers, and flowers. For Cara’s final year of teaching, we are renting a small apartment that overlooks Lake Lynn. The blog will eventually take on a state-wide perspective, but will always focus on urban natural areas and have plenty of posts about Raleigh. For now, enjoy the Lake Lynn and Falls Lake areas I will pop into when in Raleigh, while I explore and document what to show you up in Baird Cove.  Best,  John
Sliders at Lake Lynn

Many kinds of wildlife inhabit Lake Lynn, but (for enthusiasts) it has a citywide reputation for its turtles.

Lake Lynn, along with Shelley Lake, was created to provide flood protection to Crabtree Valley Mall, which was constructed in a former muddy cow pasture and flooded soon after it was built. Hare Snipe Creek, which feeds Lake Lynn, runs from the back of Tabernacle Church on Leesville nearly due south all the way to Crabtree by the Golden Corral headquarters on Glenwood Avenue. Lake Lynn has a gigantic earthen dam but is normally quite shallow, and its edges are dissected by the numerous small creeks and freshets that formerly found their way to Hare Snipe Creek. A popular greenway with long boardwalks encircles the Lake, and a spur follows the soggy wetlands of its headwaters up to a public park. At uncrowded times (and I’m talking people driving and parking at my apartment complex just to walk here) it’s an opportunity for some remarkable encounters with nature.


Some of the more interesting  birds to watch are naturalized escapees – dark, red-wattled Muscovy ducks and aggressive white barnyard geese. Lake Lynn itself is a mixture of native and natural features blended with the man-made lake and the surrounding (relatively wooded) apartments and houses. The Canada geese, well described in an earlier post, are so numerous and boisterous as to evoke aquatic chickens as they honk out the rising day outside our windows each morning.

 An Enticing Nearby Area

Cypress trees on the southwestern shore of Falls Lake

Cypress trees on the southwestern shore of Falls Lake

Just a few miles north of Lake Lynn I can cross over the highest spot in Wake County – Crestmont off Leesville Road – and travel out of Crabtree Creek’s watershed into that of the Neuse, inundated by Falls Lake. North of 98, off Baptist Road, is an access point for the Mountain-to-Sea Trail, which traces the southern shore of Fall Lake. Here a juncture of powerline cuts and shallow lobes of the lake provide wide open views and a nifty look at a population of cypress. There is a stunning serpentine boardwalk that serves the trail, and a raised bridge over Lick Creek with gorgeous views. More to come, as well as more on the whole stretch from here to the Rollingview Marina.

Lick Creek footbridge

cypress in Falls Lake


September 8, 2008

Crabtree Creek Floods The Middle Creek Greenway

Filed under: Central Raleigh, Crabtree Creek, Greenways & Parks — Tags: , , — raleighnaturalist @ 12:44 am

     After Tropical Storm Hannah came through on Saturday, September 6, 2008, Crabtree Creek flooded the intersection of Hodges Road and Atlantic Avenue and also several sections of the Middle Creek portion of the Raleigh greenway.


above is the greenway underpass below Atlantic Ave.  Below is the same view 9/6/08.

This is the first time the greenway has flooded since October 2007 by my count.

creek levels post on Pecans & Mistletoe

photo album of Crabtree flooding after Hannah


December 31, 2007

Welcome to The Natural History of Raleigh


Fall on the Beltline at Jones Franklin


Our trees, almost without exception, show the succession process at work, with loblolly pines taking over abandoned land, maples and dogwoods peeking out from under as they age, and hardwoods like oak, hickory and tulip tree slowly rising out of the aging pines as disease and self-pruning clears the way.  This stand on the southwest corner of the beltline exemplifies this science idea and is also a “purty sight” – a common dual theme of this blog.  Look around, check back for weekly posts – thanks for coming!


The welcome rain this holiday has filled (and muddied) area waterways.  in case you didn’t know it, quite a few sections of greenway flood temporarily on a regular basis.  Under Atlantic Avenue, between Centennial and S. Saunders, and west of Raleigh Swamp are just a few areas where mud will usually reign until the city bobcats come scraping through.  The re-shoring of the greenway deck off Capital Boulevard is still keeping that steeply edged section closed. Joe Miller wrote an excellent recent update on Greenway projects here.

photos of Crabtree creek levels after recent rains


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