September: Summer’s Grand Finale

September in central New York is a story that must be told — and illustrated!

The weeks leading up to the autumnal equinox are an exclamation point on the summer season that will soon yield to autumn. Landscapes near and far showcase a pleasing blend of the best of two seasons.

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Fields of corn and goldenrod

Humid days and chilly nights lead to early morning scenes that sparkle in a heavy coating of dew .

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Asters in morning dew

Diurnal wildlife activity and viewing opportunities are at peak levels. Birds and mammals, adults and juveniles alike, are foraging on the ripening fruits of wild trees and shrubs in preparation for migration, or leaner times.

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Red-panicle Dogwood

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Autumn Olive

This flock of Cedar Waxwings was swooping back and forth between spruce tree perches and a large Autumn Olive shrub that was loaded with fruit:

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Part of a flock of about 20 Cedar Waxwings perched near wild berry food sources in a brushy meadow

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Immature Cedar Waxwing feeding on the fruit of Autumn Olive (1 of 2)

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White-tailed Deer survive long winters in the snow belt by foraging around the clock on high quality foods like acorn mast and the succulent new growth in cut hay fields.

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The weeks leading up to the autumn equinox are transformative for White-tails. Fawns lose their spots; a darker, insulating winter coat (with hollow hair) replaces the reddish brown summer pelage; antlers stop growing and the dead, outer skin of velvet is rubbed off; and males, often in bachelor groups, begin to spar and establish a pecking order.

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Family group of White-tails: matriarch with her 2 fawns and a young doe, probably a yearling

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Mature buck in velvet; 13Sept2014

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Mature buck with antlers rubbed free of velvet; 14Sept2014

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White-tails bucks sparring lightly; the small, immature yearling initiated the friendly contact and received a valuable lesson; the mature buck could be his father.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

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6 thoughts on “September: Summer’s Grand Finale

    • Thanks Judith. I’m glad you’re enjoying my journal and hope I can sustain the interest of followers like you over time. Nature never repeats, so I guess it’s on me to keep things rolling!!!

  1. Nick, as usual, your photography is stunning! Thank you so much for sending these out. Now in S.C, your reminders of the beauty of NY is even more welcome. Blessings!

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