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Whispers from the Woods


“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 September in Portage Parks

•  Days becoming shorter – 1 hour and 18 minutes  less daylight by the end of the month

•  Autumnal Equinox – First Day of Fall – Sept. 23

•  New Moon – Sept. 9th

•  Full moon (Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon) – Sept. 24

•  Danger Danger…..Yellow jackets, hornets and wasps become aggressive! (change in their diet)

•  Trees are beginning to change color, their true color. Generally you can identify different species by their fall color:

Maples – Red/Orange   Ash – Maroon

Tulip Poplar – Yellow    Hickory – Yellow

Red/Scarlet Oak – Red/Copper

White/Pin Oak – Red

•  Bucks begin to shed their velvet in preparation for the rut.

•  Fall migration begins for many birds. Look for large flocks of birds congregating including Blackbirds. Swallows, Vultures, Swifts. Flycatchers, Thrushes, and Warblers making their way south through Towner’s Woods and Dix Park, waterfowl and shore birds on the mud flats and waters of Berlin Lake, Lake Pippen, and Seneca Ponds, bat migration begins for several species including the Red bat. Several hawks and some Falcon species will be making their way south including Broad Wing hawks, Sharp-shined hawks, and Merlins (falcon). Keep an eye out for Night Hawks as they pass through.

•  Wildflowers in bloom include: Several species of Goldenrod, New York Ironweed, New England Asters, Flat top Asters, Boneset, Chicory, Evening Primrose, Bull Thistle, Cattails, Nettles, Wingstem, Great Lobelia, Teasel, Rattlesnake Master and several sunflower species.

•  Mushrooms in the woods include but not limited to : Indian Pipe, Chicken of the Woods, Bears Tooth, Velvet Foot, Jack-o-Lantern, Old Man of the Woods, Hen of the Woods, and Puffballs.

•  Wooly Bear caterpillars begin crawling. What will they tell us about the up-coming winter? Monarch butterflies making their way to Mexico. Check out Swamp milkweed for evidence of these magnificent insects.