Background on Wetland Species


In this website you will find information about a number of species that have been found in the Walnut Creek wetlands. We invite visitors to add to the documented species (contact the Walnut Creek Wetland Center for more info). Here is some background information on wetlands species and habitat.

What kind of plants and animals are found in the Walnut Creek wetlands?

Due to the abundant habitat in the Walnut Creek area, there is a wide variety of creatures that live in the wetlands. Species range from aquatic creatures like crayfish and darter fish, to animals such as raccoons and the well know mallard duck. Some creatures can be spotted very easily just about any time of the year while others are only seasonal residents. Also some animals are shy or nocturnal so you may find only signs of the animals such as tracks or scat. There are also many different plant species found in Walnut Creek that are specially adapted to wetlands. River birch, Barnyard Grass, Bald Cypress and Black Willow, Cattails, Jewel Weed are just a few examples of plants that might be found in the wetlands.

What is the habitat like?

An urban wetland like Walnut Creek provides vital habitat for animals. With highways and a city surrounding it, the river wetland provides an undisturbed travel corridor for animals. Walnut Creek's river wetland is home to many resident and migratory birds.Plant life An estimated 90% of all North American birds use a bottomland at some point in the year. Walnut Creek also contains freshwater marshes. A freshwater marsh is commonly home to beavers, muskrats, fish, cattails and more. In the winter thousands of ducks and geese find food and shelter in North Carolina's marshes. Lastly, Walnut Creek has seasonal pools formed by seasonal rainfall. These pools may seem like ordinary puddles but many amphibians are largely dependent on these spaces to lay eggs and as a home for their young. Seasonal pools are ideal for young amphibians because they are dry part of the year and fish cannot inhabit them. This provides a safe shelter for these creatures. Other animals use the pools too, such as deer and birds.

What about invasive species?


Walnut Creek suffers from invasive species encroachment. Invasive species are species that come into an ecosystem from another environment and eventually take over because of lack of natural competition. Invasive species are not included in any of the species pages on this website because they are not native and they are not good for the wetlands. Some examples are, honey suckle strangle trees, Japanese hops and shrubs. This can prevent the native plants from thriving.

What birds might you find at Walnut Creek?


There is a large variety of birds that pedestrians can see when walking along the greenway. One might be surprised by how many birds a city resident can spot throughout the year. Examples of common birds that can be found are Northern Cardinals, various woodpecker species, and American Robins. If you are lucky enough you may be able to see birds less common like Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Cedar Waxwings. It's easy to see after just one visit that Walnut Creek has a wide variety of birds throughout the year.

How do seasons affect wildlife?


You might be surprised at what you might see in different seasons at Walnut Creek. For example in winter months you probably wouldn't see the Northern Water Snake but you could still see hawks and herons. In the springtime you may not see the Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly because it is most active in the summer. In summer months, you can find just about any creature that you would want to see because most are active during this time of year. In the late fall, you might find fewer insects, but more migrating birds.