Know Your Neighborhood – Brentwood Park

Just off the Beltline, nestled between Capital Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, in the sleepy little neighborhood of Brentwood, there is a teensy little park. Part of Raleigh’s Greenway project, Brentwood Park and Community Center is a tiny oasis of wild in an otherwise largely suburban sprawl.

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My kids and I were running errands today, and we had some time to kill before meeting my wife for lunch, so I decided to drop by, see the park, and let the young’uns run off some energy.

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Brentwood Park has the usual accouterment of picnic shelters, softball fields, playgrounds, and sandboxes that you find in almost any neighborhood park around here. One feature of the park stood out, though. Marsh Creek, the same creek whose headwaters are near my own house, runs along the border of the park. I was interested to see what differences, if any, existed between the park location, and my own neighborhood.

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Pleasantly sun-dappled Marsh Creek.

The Greenway trail that runs along Marsh Creek has a couple small bridges that cross over it, allowing us to get a good view down into it. The streambed appears the same here as it does at home: sandy with a smattering of rocks and boulders scattered throughout. The fish assemblage looked to be about the same, too. We saw red-breasted sunfish, some bluegills, and a school of what appeared to be some kind of Notropis shiner.

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The bottom of Marsh Creek, home to a number of small sunfishes.

The Greenway trail was very pleasant. Colorful wildflowers grew in the space between the path and the creek.

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Jewelweed, very pretty!

Birds of many species (cardinals, blue jays, catbirds, mourning doves, robins, and others!) sang from the trees, including one of the largest sycamores I’ve ever seen in the area (Not pictured, alas, because I didn’t think to photograph it.). We also saw several eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (also not pictured, but watch this space for more!) visiting the flowers growing in the verge.

My kids and I had a great time walking the Greenway path, and viewing the wildlife that visits this tiny little pocket park. Even the bathrooms were clean! If you’re ever in the area, stop by. Walk the path to the back bridge and watch the water tumble over the rocks, listen to the birds sing, and enjoy a little bit of the Triangle, naturally.

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The sound of running water over stones always puts me in a happier mood.

If you have any suggestions for future topics you’d like to see in this blog, please leave them in the comments!

*All photos by the author, unless otherwise noted*

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