“Many of the events of the annual cycle recur year after year in a regular order. A year-to-year record of this order is a record of the rates at which solar energy flows to and through living things. They are the arteries of the land. By tracing their response to the sun, phenology may eventually shed some light on that ultimate enigma, the land’s inner workings.” – Aldo Leopold, A


Phenology for December in Portage Parks

• Full moon (Cold Moon or Big Bear Moon) – Dec 6th   

• New Moon – Dec. 22nd 

• Christmas bird Count Dec 14th – Jan 5th.

• Winter Solstice – 1st day of winter Dec 21st and the shortest day of the year. 

• Snow – look for tracks in the snow: rabbits, squirrels, deer, fox, mink, and weasels.

• Look for snow fleas, commonly called spring tails, on the snow near dead vegetation.

• Hunting season (gun/bow) – wear bright colors when walking in the woods. 

• Look for Snow buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and Horned Larks in open fields of northern Portage County. 

• Looking for snowy owls, don’t look in trees. Look for snowy owls sitting on “hummocks” (mounds of dirt or debris) in open fields. 

• Woods are quiet. Look for butterflies (Mourning Cloaks and Angel Wings) overwintering under the peeling bark of trees. Look but don’t touch, please. 

• Look for the dried remains of wildflowers such as; Indian Pipes, Teasel, Milkweed, Goldenrod, Asters, Queen Ann’s Lace and various grasses. (and, yes, Oriental Bittersweet) 

Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/Gal

Come join Portage Park District volunteer Naturalist Joe Malmisur and Dr. Sarah Mabey on Monday Dec 8th for the second in the Park District’s birding series. It doesn’t matter if you did not attend the first session, we will be reviewing what we covered on Nov 10th.  The second session will focus on bird anatomy and the Christmas Bird Count that will take place on Dec 14th. Special guest instructor, Jamey L. Emmert, Wildlife Communication Specialist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife will be talking about bird anatomy and will review the idea of size and shape in identifying birds. We will have several actual bird mounts, from the small Hummingbird to the very large Sand Hill Crane, to get a good perspective on size and shape. It should be a HOOOOT!

Upcoming Hikes and Programs 


12/8 – Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/Gal – 7:00 pm Portage Park Building

12/14 – Christmas Bird Count


1/4 – Full Moon Hike – 7:00 pm Towner’s Woods

1/10 – Snow Shoe Hike – 10:00 am Chagrin Headwaters Park

1/11 – X Country Ski – 1:00 pm Headwaters Trail Head – Garrettsville to Mantua and Back

1/12 – Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/gal 7:00 pm Portage Park Building

1/17 – Cross Country Ski – 10:00 am Towner’s Woods

1/25 – Snow Shoe Hike – 2:00 pm Towner’s Woods

1/31 – Snow Shoe Hike – Shaw Woods

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from the Portage Park District. 

Make sure to check out http://portageparkdistrict.org for additional upcoming programs and hikes!