With the cold finally setting in, and some help from all the winds and rains, significant seasonal changes are becoming evident. After a rainfall, the trails are filled with the sweet scents we associate with fall foliage. Much of the foliage has fallen, and the Tamarack are changing to gold, blazing brightly in the sunlight. Beautifully orange and red colored poison ivy plants, which had been a point of interest in recent hikes, have fallen and become decoration along the trails.
Only a few Witch-hazel flowers remain, the Goldenrod flowers have largely turned to fluff, and Baptisia, also known as Wild Indigo or False Indigo, have dwindling seed pods turning gradually into spooky rattles. Mountain mints are drying out and beginning to turn brown, but are still quite fragrant.
Bird sightings include American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, and Blue Jays in several locations. Continue to expect goose flyovers, including migrants flying high up in the sky. With the decreasing foliage, woodpeckers were becoming more visible and, in addition to the typical Downy Woodpeckers and occasional Hairy Woodpeckers, some less often seen Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be seen.
On the mammal front, a lot of Muskrat footprints and trails are visible around the boardwalk at Mystery Lake. You can find them collecting plant material and carrying it to several conspicuous hollowed out areas around the bank. When startled by a group of hikers, muskrats will often swim under the boardwalk beneath your feet!
Explore With Us!
If you’d like to participate in a Naturalist-led hike, they are scheduled for 11:00am and 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Meet in front of the building, free with membership or admission, no registration necessary.
Looking for details about a hike at Schlitz Audubon? Plan Your Visit.