Autumn sticks its toe in the door…

Well, autumn is unofficially off to a cool, dark, damp, and breezy start. The silver lining, for me at least, was that the park was empty with not a car in all three lots. Sweet. Not that I don’t want to share! You are more than welcome to join me, but sometimes a little solitude can be nice, if you can get it, right?

Anyway, I saw no deer, but the geese that were noticeably absent yesterday were back in force this morning. There were probably 4 or 5 dozen on the river, and as I continued south, small flocks would take off and fly past me on their way south as well. Safe travels as you Fly Away Home, my friends!

In the meadow by the boat launch, I spotted this little critter trying to hide in the grass. I don’t know what’s up the the raccoons lately, but after seeing nary a hair on their head all summer, now they seem to be everywhere.

It seems that the beaver are not making much progress on their first cottonwood tree and have focused their energies on the second. I sure hope they succeed with both. I’m not the biggest fan of losing these big trees, but leaving the trees dead and standing seems to be the worst option of all. The trees are dead either way, and if they don’t fall the beaver don’t get the calories they need. Come on guys! You can do it!

A little further south, the pheasant back mushroom, on the other hand, is making good progress and is noticeably larger and less pig-nosed than just yesterday.

On the mudflats, the magnificent spotted orb-weaver from yesterday was gone, along with its web, but a blue heron was back to fishing along the river. I had initially written “I wonder how long they’ll stick around,” but then I looked up their migration map only to see that we might enjoy such sights all winter. All of Wisconsin is within their “year-round” range. Woo Hoo!

Also on the mudflats were a few damselflies, and this one on a knotweed blossom might be the same American rubyspot (Hetaerina americana) we saw back at the start of September.

Finally, just so you’re not left with only shades of blue and grey, here’s one more flower-of-an-hour I caught open yesterday. Enjoy your last dash of Labor Day color!

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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