Naturalist Corner:  Early Signs of Autumn - Cape Elizabeth Land Trust


Naturalist Corner:  Early Signs of Autumn

Enjoy an autumn walk at Great Pond

CELT’s annual Harvest Party this year is particularly special because it falls on the same day as the Autumn Equinox. On Saturday September 22, summer will come to a close as we experience almost exactly the same amount of time during the night and day. You may have started already to take note of the approaching autumn season. While we had some pretty warm days this summer, the past two weeks have shown a dip in daily temperatures, hinting at the chilly sweater weather to come.

Have you been out on the trails lately? There is an abundance of acorns this year that will soon be gathered and stored for winter by squirrels and chipmunks. While you are out on the trails, take a look at the forest and you might notice the leaves on some of the deciduous trees are beginning to fade from bright green to yellow, red, or brown. As the days get shorter, the leaves will stop their food making process, causing the chlorophyll within to break down and the leaves to lose their green color. Take note of when the leaves start falling off the trees: an old folklore claims that the longer the leaves stay on a tree, the colder winter will be.

Finally, turn your attention to the sky and you may catch a glance of a large flock, or “kettle” of migrating broad-winged hawks heading from Maine all the way to Central and South America. A variety of species of birds – and monarch butterflies – have already begun their journey south, another signal to us that fall is on its way. Head outside to spot some of these early signs of autumn — and join us at the Harvest Party to celebrate its arrival!

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