Chilly Nights and Morning Dew

Characterized by chilly nights and wet, dewy mornings, the seasonal transition from summer to fall has unique qualities that create both excitement and anxiety. The photographic opportunities resulting from dramatic changes in plants, animal behavior and landscapes are exciting. The need to follow the example of the resident chipmunk and prepare for winter, in my case chimney cleaning, equipment maintenance, weather seals, etc. – can cause anxious moments.

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Chipmunk

If asked for a visual summary of the special days on either side of the autumnal equinox, I would sort through recent images and present the content of this post:

A Red Admiral nectaring on one of many species of wild Asters in full bloom at this time of year. This is a migratory butterfly that is widespread across North America. I’ve only seen two on my property this year, well below normal.

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Red Admiral on Aster

Most outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with Jack-in-the-pulpit, a unique spring wildflower. However, the brilliant red-orange fruit often leaves hikers guessing because most of the vegetative portion of the plant has withered away.

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Fruit of Jack-in-the-pulpit

An Aster drenched in morning dew.

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Aster

In late August and September, bucks are often seen together, feeding in bachelor groups. This is also the time when the velvet covering of the antlers is rubbed off (look closely at the antlers of the young buck on the left). Their behavior will change dramatically in another month or so when the breeding season arrives.

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White-tailed Deer, yearling bucks.

Red-panicle or Gray-stemmed Dogwood is a native, thicket-forming shrub and a fall favorite. The combination of reddish- purple leaves; a branched, red fruit stalk and ivory-white berries is a visual treat, made even more delightful with a coating of morning dew. Migrating birds are devouring the fruit.

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Red-panicle Dogwood

Backlighting transforms the brown, dead foliage of ferns in a wetland into a point of interest. This is the leaf of Sensitive Fern.

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Sensitive Fern

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.