Fall color and a somber graveyard make for quite a moody contrast

Fall color and a somber graveyard make for quite a moody contrast

The weather has been cool and damp the last couple of weeks. The landscape was still mostly green with a spattering of autumn color, but following the first frost on the sixteenth followed by days of sunshine, the green quickly began to turn to gold, red, orange and yellow; the Kickapoo valley began to show its autumn splendor. With warm temperatures forecast for the next week or two—and no frost, rain or wind—I believe the beautiful fall colors will linger for a while.

Everywhere I look I see a colorful autumn scene, so out comes the camera. It’s so pretty that you just want it to last in your memory forever. The arrival of the fall colors is an event that usually doesn’t last too long so I tend to slow down and take in as much as I can while it lasts. It will be six months before the return of the colors of spring, so I hope you enjoy these colorful shots of autumn in the Kickapoo Valley (at the end of my blog).

A single hummingbird returned to the garden and stayed for a couple of days this week before leaving the valley. Some hummingbirds seem happier up on the ridge tops where it’s warmer and the flower gardens haven’t been killed by the frost. The fall bird migration has been underway but the weather hasn’t been harsh enough yet to cause a big push for the birds to move south.

These wood ducks will soon head south for the winter

These wood ducks will soon head south for the winter

Small bands of wood ducks gathered in the weedy ponds and backwaters along the river. Flocks of Canadian geese flew over in the blue sky; their excited calls let me know they were coming. The reddish-brown plumage of the sandhill crane has turned to blue-gray with only a hint of its summer feathers remaining. I’m always a little sad to see the cranes and the other summer birds leave in the fall, knowing it may be half a year before I see them again.

The dew sparkles on the webs of meadow spiders

Dew sparkles on the webs of meadow spiders

I love the way the early morning sunlight glistens off the dew-covered countryside. This is the time of year when the tiny meadow spiders build their strong silken webs. A grassy field may appear to be totally covered with these glowing white webs as the morning sun lights them up. A one-foot-tall cedar tree is used by twenty of the tiny spiders, a kind of spider motel, I suppose.

A smartly colored killdeer caught my eye as he scurried over the short grass not far from the road. I then remembered that he was in the exact same place where I had seen a female killdeer sitting on her nest four months earlier. Not sure why there is only one killdeer remaining, but I know I wasn’t meant to know everything and left it at that.

The large black turkey vultures are gathering in flocks of a dozen or more. Often I see them circling together high overhead. They will stick around as long as the weather stays warm enough to their liking. They may not head south until late October.

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to sight-see as the countryside takes on the very special look of Autumn. It’s my favorite time to visit a farm or apple orchard and it’s my favorite time to be at a farmers market. Just being outside and enjoying the seasonal changes can be one of life’s most refreshing and inspiring experiences.

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Fall color and a somber graveyard make for quite a moody contrast

Fall color and a somber graveyard make for quite a moody contrast

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The Autumn blaze is here at last

The Autumn blaze is here at last

Naturally yours,

Dan