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Nature Almanac

Hidden Pond Nature Center

[ 8511 Greeley Blvd. ] [ Springfield, VA 22152 ] [ 703-451-9588 ]


Almanac for November 2015

Natural events, happenings, and fearless predictions based on 30 years of observations at Hidden Pond. Your observations may vary! Hidden Pond is not responsible for errors, erratic behavior or other whims of nature.

  • 1st Week: Some of this year’s acorns germinate now and send down skinny but surprisingly strong taproots. Blindfolded, anyone can tell the season of the year by the smell of damp decaying leaves. The thick leathery leaves of the oaks turn from deep burgundy to brown before falling with a clattering sound. On a clear dark night try lying flat on your back, and look straight up with binoculars. Near the zenith and slightly to the east is the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away, the most distant object visible to the naked eye.
  • 2nd week: Leaves pile up, returning nutrients to the woodland soil. They succumb to gravity, falling even in the still air. Once the leaves are down it is easier to spot the past summer’s bird nests. Persimmon seeds are now often seen in raccoon and fox scat. Some seeds must first be processed in an animal’s gut in order to germinate. Cedar waxwings, always in flocks also eat persimmon fruit. Deer, squirrel, and turkey all eat lots of acorns. Mature red-tailed hawks migrate south following the mountains to our west, taking advantage of the thermal updrafts that they find there.
  • 3rd week: Seeds now fall from the upright seed cones of tulip poplars. The seeds spin as they fall which helps the wind carry these seeds from beneath the parent tree. Flocks of turkeys spend their days walking through the woods scratching the leaves aside to find insects, spiders, seeds and nuts for food, and spend their nights roosting together in trees. Willow trees stand out because they are still green. They are among the first to become green in spring and the last to turn in the fall.
  • 4th week: The full Hunter’s Moon rises November 25. The woods now look wintry, with American beech trees among the few to keep their light brown leaves all winter long. These leaves will drop next spring when there is no longer danger of frost. The bare trees make it easier to watch brown creepers, nuthatches and other birds searching for food. The coats of deer, squirrels, and mice now change from a tawny brown to gray; to better match the gray winter woods.

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