Today dawned the chilliest in a while with 29˚ registering on the thermometer at 6am. But as these September days do, it warmed up a bit and I didn’t need my gauntlet mittens, aka hand-made wrist warmers, for long.
As I ventured forth, I noticed, however, that the fairies had worked like crazy and prepared for the temperature and their beds were well covered.
Further along, Cinnamon fern fronds curled into themselves as is their manner at this time of year, but really, it looked like they had donned caterpillar coats in an attempt to stay cozy. So named cinnamon for the color of their separate fertile frond in the spring, the late season hue also sings their common name.
Upon another stalk that also appeared cinnamon in color, paused a Swamp Spreadwing Damselfly, its days diminishing as its a summer flyer.
For a while, I stood in an area where Bog Rosemary and Cotton Grass grow among a variety of others. One of those others blooms late in the season and added a tad bit of color to the display.
As I wandered, I wondered. Where are the pollinators? For the early hours I suspected they were tucked under the flowers, but eventually the day warmed enough and the action began and no one was busier than this Bumblebee.
Maybe that’s not entirely true, for Hover Flies did what they do: hovered. And occasionally landed.
Notice the hairy fringe? Hover or Drone Flies as they are also known, mimic bees in an attempt to keep predators at bay. Perhaps the hair also keeps the cold temp from tamping down their efforts?
Crossing streams more than several times, Water Striders skated while the tension between feet and water created reflections of the still green canopy and blue sky. And do you notice the tiny red water mites that had hitched a ride on the strider?
Meandering along, the natural community kept changing and so did the plant life. One of my favorites, Hobblebush, spoke of three seasons to come: autumn’s colorful foliage, winter’s naked buds a bit hairy in presentation, and spring’s global promise of a floral display forming between the buds.
One might think this was a serene hike in the woods and through the wetlands. One would be slightly wrong. Ah, there were not man-made sounds interrupting the peace, but the grasshoppers and cicadas did sing, birds did forage and scatter and forage some more, and red squirrels did cackle. A. Lot.
Perhaps their dirty faces indicated the source of their current food source: white pine seeds. It certainly looked like sap dripped from facial hairs.
And I’m pretty sure I heard a request for sunflower seeds and peanuts to be on the menu soon.
I wandered today beside a muddy river,
through a Red Maple swamp,
and into a quaking bog.
In each instance it was obvious: Summer falls . . . into autumn. It’s on the horizon.