West 6th Street Bridge over Shoal Creek, Austin, Texas
Do you have a favorite bridge in Austin? I have several. I love the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge over Lady Bird Lake (next to Lamar). I also like the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and the Mexican free-tailed bats. But my favorite bridges span Shoal Creek, and most are historical and architectural marvels in their own right.
Let’s begin with the oldest, West 6th. Built in 1887, this stone triple-arch bridge predates the state capitol. No building on the UT campus is as old as the West 6th Street bridge. In fact, it would be hard to find any bridge in Texas as old as this one still in daily use.
Common snapping turtle, Shoal Creek, Texas
Late May along Shoal Creek means hot weather and restless fish and turtles. There are three species of turtles that I see most frequently along Shoal: the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina
), the spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera
), and the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta
). All three are fairly common, with the slider the most frequently seen.
I can’t recommend a special place along Shoal Creek to see the slider since they are virtually everywhere. However, check out the bridge at the mouth of Shoal Creek as it enters Lady Bird Lake in the afternoon. I have seen dozens, even hundreds, there. Both snapping and softshell turtles can be seen in Lady Bird Lake, particularly if you canoe or kayak up Barton Creek in the early morning.