Saturday, October 24, 2015

Autumn Colors

More Than Just Leaves                           18 October 2015

Common Loon, winter plumage, and Autumn colors

Sitting just above 45 Degrees North Latitude, the change of seasons is always dramatic here. Each year brings the comfort in seasons and the adventure of seasonal nature.  Each year also brings a unique surprise, a dynamic shift in the usual balance, some kind of unexpected treat.  Autumn is a very long dance in nature, with first hints of energy storage, energy conservation, and preparation for harder times beginning as early as July.  By late August, the work of autumn is obvious everywhere, but it takes until nearly the end of September for the season to firmly declare its presence to all.

Double-crested Cormorant

Autumn is known to most by the changing of leaves, peaking in early October.  Make careful time to notice the other changes in nature.  The widespread biological pulse in plant scenecense, the death of cells and shedding of leaves in preparation for dormancy, is equally matched in the animal world. Preparations are underway, frantically sometimes, for hibernation, migration, change in metabolic presence, and even breeding among some mammals.  Birds often wear autumn adult and youthful juvenile plumages, sometimes making them difficult to recognize.  Deer have gone from red to smoke gray. Carnivores are filling in with luxurious winter coats, the weasels turning white.  The song of the Spring Peeper tree frogs now sound raspy, like the scraping of slate.  These are the other autumn colors.

Bonaparte's Gull and autumn leaves

When captivated by the beauty of autumn leaves and landscapes of color, take time to savor the moment, to be still in a flurry of change.  Be mindful of what is happening all around you.  Then make equal time or greater time to watch the story the animals, to see what autumn colors mean to them. 

All images were made with a Canon 7D and Canon EF400mm 5.6L lens.  Thanks to Matt Berg for a great day working on the water!