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Naturalist Notebook

Fall Day

Fall arrived this year rather late. The warm temps continued past the official start of the season and our area remained very dry for a time.

The beautiful colors that Sugar Maples typically display were missing.

Now, moving into late fall, a different kind of beauty has taken the place of Sugar Maple leaf color. Oaks will sometimes hold their leaves all winter but before it gets really cold these leaves turn a deep russet brown or sometimes golden yellow and the Red Oaks a bright orange-red.

I have noticed other tree species holding their leaves longer this year as well. Sycamore is now a brilliant yellow and shows up well in the brown native landscape. When it finally drops it's leaves, it's glory is revealed in the beautiful bark and patchy white and gray trunk which makes this tree a standout! This is one of my favorite trees and I love to observe them on a wintry day as they appear ghost-like in the snow.

This day is a delight to me as I make a morning walk around the property. It is raining and foggy but the trees stand out against this backdrop of cloudiness. I see an older oak tree standing alone against the fog wrapped in a coat of leaves that are a deep russet brown. Soon it will be unrobed by winter. The strong character of trees is revealed when they are leafless. The many differences in bark color and form are noticed now. Their branching and structure become evident. It truly is a marvel how nature is so diverse in even a very small patch on the planet.

As we approach winter and the days grow darker again there is still much to admire in the natural landscapes around us.

I feel fortunate to live in this part of our country where the seasons have their dramatic changes and I can enjoy the beauty that nature provides.

Rose Moore – Master Naturalist

Journal Entry November 2017