Patterns in the Stubble

Most of our corn fields have been harvested and miles of tawny stubble now dominate rural landscapes. The dormant fields are exposed, as are the flocks of birds searching for waste grain to fatten up for winter or migratory flights. Where fields occur near surface waters, large flocks of foraging geese are an inescapable landscape element.






Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Rainy Days

Wind, rain and dark skies have settled in, arriving at the tail end of a beautiful display of flaming foliage in the countryside. I’m searching for the silver lining — while monitoring storm water and the erosion control practices on my woodlot.




Photos by NB Hunter. All Rights Reserved.

Autumn 2016: “Best of Show”

The maple-dominated woodlands of Central New York have been beautiful this week! Sugar Maple and associated deciduous trees are presenting their true colors in a flaming palette of warm and vibrant colors.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”   – L. M. Montgomery








Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Scenes, Near and Far

Red Oak leaves in the morning sun


An aging Sugar Maple tree. Well beyond its economic prime, but priceless as a visual resource


The third, and final, cutting of hay for the season


The colors and contrasts of dairy farms, active and abandoned



The Hunter’s Supermoon, a rare October treat!


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Early Autumn 2016

“Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.”   -Albert Camus

In the fall we track the changing colors of foliage much the same way that we follow the sequence of bloom with spring wildflowers. Leaf peeping is a big event! Early autumn (late September and the first week or so in October in Central New York) is a time of excitement and anticipation, with everyone gazing into a crystal ball to predict peak foliage color and schedule outdoor activities.

A recent trip to my childhood home 400 miles southwest of here reminded me that wishful thinking has no influence on Mother Nature’s timetable! The river bottom watersheds in western Pennsylvania were still very green, leading me to explore the more detailed landscapes in front of my nose.


Kiskiminetas River, viewed from the Roaring Run Recreation Trail; Apollo, PA


Marbled Orbweaver spider, building a web


A tussock moth caterpillar on the move

After returning to Central New York, I began to see a bit more color but summer greens were still dominant. Warm temperatures, plenty of sun and the absence of a hard frost have resulted in a gradual transition from summer to fall, with a pleasing overlap of the seasons.


Woodman Pond and resting geese


Woodland ferns and a hint of autumn


Chenango Canal and the canal towpath trail


Sulphur butterfly on asters

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Avian Scavengers

Last week a friend told me about a road-killed deer in a field, visible and accessible from a secondary road. A mature bald eagle, crows, vultures and coyotes were feeding on the carcass at one time or another, so I visited the site hoping to capture some scavengers at work.

On the first trip, a dense fog limited visibility but the chatter of crows around the carcass gave me the approximate location.


The next day was clear and bright and by mid morning the site was a chaotic scene of swirling vultures and noisy crows, about 10 birds in all.



There was obviously a hierarchy among the vultures because some were forced off the carcass or to the fringe to wait their turn.





There are nearly one million deer in New York state and large numbers of deer inhabit heavily populated areas, so deer-vehicle collisions are a routine occurrence. 70,000 to 80,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur annually (and that is just the number reported as insurance claims). Property damage averages several thousand dollars per incident.

Photos by NB Hunter. All Rights Reserved.