Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 6, 2016

It's here, November - that transition month when it's not really autumn anymore and winter still seems to be off in the future.  But mother nature provides a warning against complacency:  on November first I saw my first ice.
Ice on the beaver pond in Meredith's Page Pond Conservation Area

Then on the second day of November, as if on cue, the first of the migrants from Canada appeared, a lone Hooded Merganser.
A lone merganser cruises the lake

With a little luck we will see more of these pretty ducks over the course of the month. 

I also caught a little Song Sparrow picking seeds from the fall grasses.

A song sparrow rests in a cherry tree
November is a month of variation.  We can count on a couple of beautifully warm, sunny days (there were kayakers on Lake Wicwas this week),

as well as some cold, gray days.

A classic November view from Chemung Road

Early in the week the blueberries were shining brightly, but by today, they are all but gone by.
Blueberry and huckleberry's fall glory

This month of transition provides a nice display of various habitats at different locations on this south-facing hill.

The top of the hill is populated almost exclusively with white pine.  The center elevations are predominantly filled with the copper and dark orange indicative of oak.  Then at the bottom of the hill, where the ground is low and probably the wettest, are the bare branches of the maple trees.  In the uniform green of summer this differentiation goes unnoticed.

Some leaves will hang on right through the month, providing a little diversion from November drabness. 
But even though a few bright colors are still hanging in there, most of the remnants of fall are now scattered on the ground.
Over the next four weeks these will change to brown and gray, along with the weather, as November transitions, unforgivingly, towards winter.

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