The spectacular bloom of goldenrods and asters fades as plants age to drooping stalks and earth tones.Cool nights give rise to morning dew…. and wet feet. The once daily encounters with cold blooded creatures – bugs, snakes, toads and the like – gradually disappear. Birds and mammals take center stage, competing for nature’s bounty as they instinctively prepare for winter.
Nutritious acorns and other “hard mast” are wildlife magnets and a critical food source for winter health and survival.
Wild turkey hen and her young foraging for seeds and bugs in a hay field.
Antlers free of velvet and polished, this mature whitetail will soon reach his peak weight and be ready for the physical challenges of the rut, the hunting seasons … and winter
Fungi thrive in the warm, wet weather of September. Fruiting bodies are everywhere, appearing quickly and unpredictably in the moist, organic habitats of woodlands.
Woodlands come alive in late summer as fungi and related plants respond to warm, moist growing conditions with visible forms of their life cycles. Fruiting bodies of myriad shapes, sizes and colors appear, sometimes overnight (they thrive in darkness!). The show can be every bit as rewarding as the spring flush of wildflowers…and just as fleeting too.
Mushrooms emerging through a layer of spruce needles
The Ghost Plant (Indian Pipe) made its way into this series on fungi because it lacks chlorophyll and can grow in the dark. In reality, it is a non-photosynthetic flowering plant that parasitizes the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi associated with tree roots.
Ramble (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary): “to wander around in a leisurely, aimless manner; to take a course with many turns or windings, as a stream or path”. Recently, in the absence of major field trips and photo projects, I’ve taken to rambling to break up the routine. This usually involves short, exploratory walks not far from home; streams, meadows, woodlots, roadsides, the backyard – just about any natural area will suffice. For the most part, the flora and fauna in this post are very common and images of them are everywhere. On the other hand, every image is unique, and some are even worthy of redundancy!
All of the images in my gallery are recent, with the exception of two: the butterflies (same time of year, 2012). They are few and far between this year.
Honeybee on Goldenrod
Coral fungus at the base of a Red Oak tree
An anglewing butterfly (the Comma) on asters
Bee on Turtlehead, a wetland wildflower
Touch-me-not or Jewelweed
White-tailed deer; fawn, beginning to lose its spots