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Nature Almanac


Hidden Pond Nature Center
[ 8511 Greeley Blvd. Springfield, Virginia 22152 ]   [ 703-451-9588 ]

Cardinal

Almanac for October 2014

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: Listen for white-throated sparrows: their call is a clear whistled “sweet, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” which is where they have been for the past summer. Soon they will stop calling and stay quiet for the winter. The tall grasses, wildflowers and other weedy things that produce lots of seeds are an important food source for our birds and mammals. Most of the nighttime insect noise comes from snowy tree crickets. The ground is alive with field crickets. Keep your eyes on the skies as many kinds of hawks now migrate south. Dogwood trees have formed their distinctive turban shaped flower buds which will bloom next spring. Luna moth caterpillars pupate; the moths will emerge next May.
  • 2nd week: Full moon October 8. Our roadsides are now graced with small white daisy-like flowers known as daisy fleabane, and the blue daisy-like New England aster. The autumn woodland wildflower most noticeable now is the white wood aster. Witch hazel, one of the last trees to bloom is now in flower. These small trees or shrubs are often found along stream banks. The flowers have four narrow twisted yellow petals. Look for fall butterflies like the Buckeye, which has distinctive eye spots on their fore and hind wings.
  • 3rd week: Acorns now litter the ground under some of the oaks. They may already be sending down slender but surprisingly strong tap roots. Fall honeysuckle is very fragrant. Grass is finally finished growing. The beavers are very active as they store twigs under water for the winter. Ferns turn yellow and wither with the exception of the Christmas fern which stays green all winter.
  • 4th week:  Fall colors usually at peak now. The reddest leaves of the forest belong to black gum. Tulip poplars are usually all yellow. Maples are usually red and yellow. Brown or burgundy leaves belong to the oaks. Holly berries turn red. The round orange fruit of the persimmon tree look ripe but wait for hard frost before you eat, else they are very astringent. Black and brown woolly bear caterpillars amble about; the blacker the woolly bear, the blacker the winter.

 

 


Hidden Pond Nature Center, Fairfax County Park Authority

8511 Greeley Boulevard, Springfield, VA 22152. Phone 703/451-9588

 


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