Every year from late September into early October a diversity of plants, fungi, and animals find their unique expressions of autumn change.
After a rain shower, fall mushrooms like boletes and amanitas suddenly pop up under the trees in our yards as if they’ve waited for months for the weather to cool off. The leaves of tupelos and red maples turn a beautiful crimson as the trees recycle nutrients in a spectacular seasonal display. Our latest flowering native perennials showcase a profusion of brilliant yellow goldenrods and the violet hues of New England asters.
Back in 1970, singer songwriter Joni Mitchell sang about not realizing “what we’ve lost ‘til it’s gone” when she warned about losing wild places to development. Fifty years later, the words couldn’t be truer.
As our paradise-to-pavement consumption of forests, meadows, and other natural lands accelerates, many of us risk never even knowing what we’ve lost, never mind waiting until it’s gone.
While the days turn doggedly humid, summer swings for the fences, and Cape Cod seems full to the brink with visitors, birds continue to go about their lives nesting and raising their broods.
Resident species like American robin continue to nest, but seasonally transient orioles, flycatchers, warblers, and vireos start to go mysteriously quiet. These migratory species are adapted to time their nesting seasons to peak food abundance of caterpillars and other insects. Typically, these species have long since found mates, established their territories, nested, and if all went well, their young fledged and joined the skies. Because their nesting seasons are short, many migratory species only have enough time to raise one brood per year.
An Atlantic white cedar swamp is a mysterious place of mossy hummocks rambling around the roots of dignified spires stretching skyward. If you’re unfamiliar with these fascinating wetland communities, picture towering cedars casting deep shade on the boggy, tumbled terra firma below.
The Wilsons bring owls that are found locally including great-horned owl with golden irises, red morph screech owl and the soda can-sized saw-whet owl. They also showcase owls from around the globe, including the Eurasian eagle owl (largest owl species in the world) and the South American spectacled owl. The barred owl with its dark charcoal-colored eyes and the striking snowy owl will also make an appearance. – See more at: http://harwichconservationtrust.org/eyes-on-owls/#sthash.l69lwALO.dpuf