Phenology Project: Week 4

Sunday, September 25, 2011, 1:15PM
62°F, about 75% cover with cumulus clouds but sun breaking through intermittently, light breeze

A damp fresh feeling in the forest, and a sweet smell. This is our reward for days of gray drizzle last week. The much-needed rain means that for the first time since I’ve been coming here, the soil is finally moist to the touch, the moss on my sitting rock newly green and soft. Some of the clubmosses that hadn’t already turned brown are taking advantage of this bit of wetness and producing fresh “cones,” or strobili, trying to squeeze in a bit more reproduction before winter begins in earnest. I wonder if the added moisture will keep the maples here green even longer. You’d never know it from this photo, but in some parts of the forest the trees are already solid scarlet, amber, golden. What’s different about here, I wonder? There’s a bit more of a yellow hue to the leaves than last week, a few more freshly fallen leaves on the ground, but these sugar maples are lagging behind the overall trend.

No sleepy chorus of insects in the field today, but there are birds calling – crows and jays in the distance, chickadees (dee-dee-dee!) and nuthatches (yank, yank, yank) closer. A few migrants are still passing through as well, mostly Black-throated Green Warblers, as far as I’ve seen.

Next week…? Who knows! Stay tuned.

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