Aspen Accents

In Central New York the bright yellows and golds of aspen leaves are most vivid around Halloween. I captured this stand along a favorite walking trail just before peak color, fearful that the weather might rule out a return visit and second chance.

Municipal trail; “Rails to Trails” program; Oriskany Falls, NY

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Late October Bucks

The white-tail bucks that I’m familiar with are still showing pre-rut behavior. That is, they’re feeding heavily, often in darkness.

We’re still a couple of weeks away from the prime November rut, a time when deer and deer sign become prominent throughout the day and night and breeding males can lose 25% of their weight chasing and guarding does .

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Happy Halloween!!!

Frosty mornings, foraging critters, flaming foliage, a bright moon lighting up the night sky, corn harvesting, piles of pumpkins, scary stuff…..yikes! There are so many choices for my photo journal and Halloween greeting from Central New York. I’ll present these fresh images, for no particular rhyme or reason. It just feels good!

Hunters’ Moon, early evening; 26Oct2015

Farmer and his truck, both a little tired

American Beech on fire, over a background of Red Oak

A chunky chippy, pondering the challenge of getting a 10-inch pumpkin into the 2-inch entrance to its underground burrow

Hunters’ Moon, late evening; 26Oct2015

Zombie White-tail

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Monarch Habitat: Milkweed

A fringe benefit of autumn leaf peeping is the discovery of other natural phenomena and photo opportunities. When setting up for the landscape scene in my last post, I couldn’t help but notice the white gobs of milkweed seeds along the untidy fencerow in front of me. Prime Monarch butterfly habitat! Still attached to the opened pods, the tethered masses of seeds were waving and fluttering like flags in the stiff breeze.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Panning for Landscape Gold

In my last post I indicated that our colorful sugar maple foliage had peaked and would quickly succumb to wind and rain, possibly some wet snow. I was wrong. The foul weather didn’t arrive, and this week was more spectacular than last! This is why I don’t like the term ‘peak foliage color”. Autumn presents a continuum of changes in the landscape, subject to all sorts of environmental variables. It is a dynamic that is best left uncategorized.

Farms and woodlots, with dominant Sugar Maple in the distance; 10/23/15

I was on the road early (10/23/2015), excited about the bright morning glow and clear skies. The target was Sugar Maple – I wanted another shot at it and was panning for landscape gold!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Flaming Foliage: the Peak!

Deciduous trees like White Ash, Red Maple and Yellow Birch initiate our fall foliage spectacle, while Quaking Aspen, Red Oak and others bring down the curtain – often aided by a thin but heavy layer of fresh snow. “Peak” foliage color, that brief period when panoramic views are most colorful and appealing to tourists, occurs somewhere in between. In Central New York, the timing and intensity of peak color is driven by one dominant species: Sugar Maple.

Locally, Sugar Maple foliage in the hills and farm woodlots peaked October 11 – 17, the approximate time frame that these images were recorded. Last night, a half inch of wet snow forced many leaves to the ground and moved us a bit closer to the next stage in the foliage festival: oak and aspen at Halloween!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Pitcher Plants

Red Maple leaf on a bed of sphagnum moss

I’m easily led astray when hiking. Three days ago I ventured into a nearby swamp to photograph Red Maple foliage, but also had a hidden agenda. Off the northeastern end of the swamp lies a tiny bog with all sorts of goodies that beg to be investigated. It was a summer-like fall morning, perhaps the last opportunity to capture a set of images like this. More seasonal weather is on its way, and the cold blooded creatures will soon disappear from the landscape.

My main subject was the colorful Pitcher Plants underfoot, the unique insect predators commonly found in acidic, bog habitats. Downward-pointing hairs and a watery trap below capture insects that, once digested, supplement the nutrient-poor substrate of a bog.

Pitcher Plant and sphagnum moss

Gladiator Katydid on the inside of a Pitcher Plant leaf (1 of 2)

Fly on the outer surface of a Pitcher Plant leaf

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Red Maple

Red Maple, also called Swamp Maple or Scarlet Maple, is now in peak fall color and deserves a post all its own to showcase its brilliant palette.

“Red Maple is the light that brightens the fall color sky throughout the northern midwestern and northeastern states……the fall color can be so dazzling and ….. paints a picture that no master could duplicate…”   from the “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” by M.A. Dirr

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.