Saturday, October 30, 2010

The end of the Fall

After our recent windy days only the most ingenious trees have kept their leaves.

This oak will probably wear its russet all winter long while the trees all around only stand in naked wonder. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Migrating birds


The swallows have been gone for weeks and it's lonely around here without them; they're one of my favorites with their joyful chatter and antics.

Each day a new round of birds flies through here heading south. My feeder is a really busy place as they all fill up before continuing their journey.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn in Indiana

The other morning another frost had everything sparkling in the early morning sunrise. These leaves were well frosted.

Yesterday we had wind and rain. The rain came down in sheets of tiny spikes that tried to enter the skin like a thousand tiny accupunture needles.

The wind is whipping all the remaining leaves off  of the trees. By tonight the trees will be bare. Just right for Halloween.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Water




A week ago was Blog Action day where bloggers everywhere drew attention to the world's water. I participated on one of my other blogs, but such an important cause deserves another mention here.  

Whether it's the water in Lake Michigan, part of the world's largest sources of freshwater  or the water in my favorite fishing hole; water is something that I can't live without. Having grown up in the Midwest where water is more plentiful than elsewhere, I am fortunate. However, our water is often so polluted that we can't even eat the fish caught in some areas.

And still there are people who are so shortsighted that they would build factory plants in the middle of a flood plain, risking some of our less polluted areas.

The time has come for us to make long range plans and commitments to protect our precious resourses for today and tommorrow.

Please navigate to this website and sign the petition to protect our water and make sure all humans on the planet have access to clean water of their own.  

Enjoy the short video below that I took of one of my favorite streams, Coffee Creek, here in Northwest Indiana. Coffee Creek flows right into Lake Michigan. 

video

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ferns of the Bog

There are still some green ferns left in the bog even though most of them have died off.

Ferns are fascinating. They don't flower; instead they have tiny back spores that they release into the wind. The spores can be seen as tiny black specks about the size of  poppy seeds on the back of the fronds.

Ferns are ancient plants that have changed very little over the years.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Coffee Creek Deer

This little sweetheart was having breakfast at Coffee Creek. She didn't seem to mind as I stood by with the dogs and snapped a few pictures; although she acted like she wasn't too sure what all the fuss was about.

She must have come across some tasty corn because she was not going to move from that spot no matter what the danger.

The corn though, must have been tough...

She was having some difficulty chewing it. But she didn't mind.








Down again she went for more.









And up she came again trying to crack it with her teeth. 

What a struggle to be a deer!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mushroom

I found a number of these mushrooms in the bog.

Some had tiny bites taken out of them.

They are almost purple around the outer rim and they have rings like a slice of wood.   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Really big Mushroom

Besides Hobbits, many animals eat mushrooms; mice and chipmunks among them.

During a hike the other day at Cowles Bog in the Indiana Dunes I found this mushroom. It is huge; as big as a human head. It should provide a whole mouse family food for the winter. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Those autumn leaves.....

This time of year, if you pay close attention, you can almost watch the leaves changing colors.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The flowers of October

It is challenging photographing the colors of fall. First of all digital pictures of most of the golds get translated back to green pixels for some reason.

Then again there is also the problem with seeing the forest for the trees. It is always difficult to photograph something that you are inside of.

But this year the trees are out doing themselves.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October Skies

The other morning there were angry skies foretelling things to come. Fortunately, these skies did not turn into the snow predicted in the shops around town.

But all too soon the skies will threaten us with the cold, wet stuff.

For today though we are enjoying the autumn trees turned into the colors of flame.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coffee Creek October Morning

It was a misty morning at Coffee Creek.

The October gold of sassafras and paw paw was reflected off the water.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn Sumac

The sumac is a brilliant red color for autumn.

This is the fuzzy stemmed variety. It gets long conical seed pods that are supposedly good to make a cold drink out of that tastes a bit like lemonade.

Isn't it beautiful?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Sassafras

The woods are golden with autumn colored Sassafras trees.

Sassafras is what flavors root beer and you can make a tea from Sassafras that tastes just like root beer.


Some of the leaves glow red in the forest understory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Snake

This spring before the last snow melted, I came across a dozen snakes like this one in a hole in the river bank. They were just waking up from the winter.

This snake was enjoying the summer like weather we're having into October this year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This little guy was sitting right in the middle of the trail at Indiana Dunes yesterday. He was enjoying the day and was not about to budge just because I walked up.

He sat and posed nonchalantly. He was so perfect I could have kissed him had he not been so dirty.....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunset Hill Autumn

Autumn has arrived, seemingly overnight, to this part of Indiana.

My favorite trees at Sunset Hill Farm Park are beginning to show their colors.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Last of the Summer Flowers

We are being blessed with some really nice weather into October this year.

Most of the summer's flowers are spent.

But this bunch is still hanging on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ground Hog

Ground hogs are much more friendlier in the summer than around ground hog day.

This one was really curious or really blind. He waited for me to come down the path and then he slowly lead the way.

He has a very distinctive white ring on his nose. I have never seen one so prominent.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Skipper

Here's a little skipper that was so orange that he blended right in with the marigolds that he was enjoying in the last days of September.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Hundred Chipmunks

Sitting next to the Tippecanoe River the other day, I watched the river pass by.

It was a wonderful day to watch the woodpeckers fly by, gaze at the geese, and listen to a hundred tiny chipmunks in the woods behind me chewing on acorns.  

First Frost at Coffee Creek

October 4th was kind of early for a first frost even in this  part of Indiana. Nevertheless, in spite of what the calendar said, the leaves were glistening with a hardy frost yesterday morning.

The sun was quickly warming the plants up though, and creating little microcosms that provided bit of autumn ambiance.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buttonbush

If you see this plant near a house you are about to buy, don't buy the house unless you like to live in a swamp.

Buttonbush likes low swampy areas. It is a native wetland plant that provides food and cover for a variety of butterflies and birds.

Usually the little "button balls" are white. This fall I've been seeing a lot of them turning a magnificent red color.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I love a swamp!

Sometimes it pays to experience a little mud. Wetlands and swamps are beautiful places and are great places to spend a few minutes.


The other day I was in Tippecanoe State Park. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spot a family of river otters in the wetland at Tippecanoe. I like to stop in every so often and see if I can spot the little guys again. The otters were not home the other day but there was a lot of action in the swamp; starting with the frogs enjoying soaks and mud baths.    

Wetlands clean pollutants out of water. Not only otters, but muskrat, beaver, dragonflies, and frogs call wetlands and swamps home. Wetlands are pretty important in the scheme of things.

As you can guess from the photo's the wetland area of the park is a busy place. The Blue Heron was feeding on the tadpoles. The tadpoles were congregated really close together because the wetland is drying up this late in the year, making them easy pickings for the heron.

There were hundreds of Red-tailed Pennant Dragonflies laying eggs in the water and the dragonfly nymphs will feed the tadpoles that the heron doesn't eat. When the dragonfly nymphs get big enough they may even munch on some tadpoles too.  

Yes, there is nothing like a wetland. I love a swamp! 

Learn more: Click here.      

Friday, October 1, 2010

Skipper

Just outside the nature center at Tippecanoe State Park, the staff has planted a flower garden.

The garden is in full bloom and attracts dozens of butterflies like the little skipper I spotted the other day.