temperatures in the low 90s made early September seem like summer,
the plants along the trail were not fooled. The Red Maples (Acer
rubrum) were the first plants to show autumn colors.
Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans) has also changed - to maroon as
pictured, or to bright yellow. Toxicity drops off some in the fall
as the urticating oils begin to dissipate, but it's still not a good
idea to come into contact with it.
Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa) leaves have been "skeletonized"
- that is, insects (probably beetle larvae) have eaten all the leaf
tissue between the veins.
(Arisaema triphyllum) berries have turned brilliant red. Later,
after the leaves have fallen, the berries will persist as one of the
sure sign of autumn, Black and Yellow Garden Spiders (Argiope aurantia)
have appeared in their large orb-shaped webs.
spider sits on a petal of Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus).
Paper wasps (Polistes sp.) are abundant on Goldenrod (Solidago
sp.). Here's a trick to amaze your friends: Male Paper Wasps (below)
have a yellow face and curled antennae tips - and lack the means to
sting. Female Paper Wasps (second picture, below) have a brown face
and straight antennae - and, as with all wasps, use their ovipositors
to deliver a painful sting. You can pick up male wasps between your
fingers with impunity. The wasps will even make stinging motions with
their abdomens, but they can't hurt you. Impresses the heck out of
viewers though. (Please explain the trick to others if you try this
- don't leave them thinking they can pick up any ol' wasp. Also, don't
try this with Yellow Jackets or Hornets - just Paper Wasps.)
September 9th and I saw my first Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
Usually, by this time of year I would have seen hundreds - and raised
a dozen or more caterpillars to share in Marlborough's elementary
school. I have seen no caterpillars this year.
is an Arctiid Moth caterpillar, Lophocampa caryae, with the
common name of Hickory Tussock Moth (though it is not in the tussock
Pretty spiffy looking.
this Downy Woodpecker (Dendrocopus pubescens) hammering away
on some pretty slender stems.
7th we had significant rain, resulting in a thick fog on the morning
of the 8th.
resulted in a good crop of fungi. This Pore Fungus was a good 8"
across with a cap that could have served as a birdbath. I haven't
been able to identify it.
or Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), one of the last flowers
to bloom in summer. The blooms will persist long into the fall, gradually
browning but retaining a hint of purple.
11th, 2001: I heard the first, tentative news on WNPR as I got into
my car after my walk. But September 12th on the trail was the most
significant for me: no contrails in the sky; and disquiet at the sound
of a distant siren - wondering what might be coming next.
this year are a sign of hope: in some small way the aggregate
acts of passengers and crews carrying on.