autumn images

10.29.21 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum
poison ivy climbing a flowering dogwood

Our peak fall foliage dates are supposed to be October 24-November 6 so as soon as we got a chance between rainstorms we squeezed in this autumn walk. We enjoyed the colors but there is still a lot of green. Climate change, I suppose. We’ve been getting a lot of rain and our temperatures have been running about 10°F above normal. Sigh…

mottled colors

The energy from this huge American beech resonated with me. I think it might qualify as a wolf tree! It was too wide to get in one photograph! We lingered under its branches for quite a while.

American beech
American beech leaves starting to turn
interesting scars
other side of American beech
hints of Yuletide
tulip tree leaf
paper birch bark
paper birch leaves
sunlit changes
Tim contemplating a glacial erratic he might have climbed in his younger years
glacial erratic overlooking the amphitheater and pond
glacial erratic in pond supporting all kinds of life and a blueberry bush

A new bird for me! When I was taking the picture above I spotted some white “circles” moving in the distance, way across the pond. We followed the path around the pond and they swam in the opposite direction. So I tried my best with the zoom lens. When we retraced our steps, they swam back to where we were. Clever little things. They are a lot smaller than mallards.

male Hooded Merganser, #68

Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus: Year-round resident; fairly common to common migrant in March and from October to November; and fairly common in winter on fresh or brackish water on the coast or larger rivers. Uncommon and very local cavity-nesting breeder in secluded wooded swamps, beaver ponds with open water, mostly in the northwest hills and lower Connecticut River.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

female Hooded Merganser
the red leaves are a reflection in the water,
the green leaves are hanging over the water
view of pond through the underside of leaves
orbs and sunlit leaves
one final spot of color

It was a refreshing, wonderful autumn walk!

38 thoughts on “autumn images”

    1. Thank you, Leelah! He was so deep in thought I just couldn’t resist. Later on he told me what he was pondering.

  1. What a beautiful day in the arboretum! Typical that the reds often show up near the edges of water first. FYI, the first photo is of the dreaded poison ivy, another fall plant that loves to go red in the woods.

    1. 🤣 My archenemy! When we were parking the car I spotted the pretty vine climbing this flowering dogwood tree and was drawn like a magnet to get the picture. Good thing I didn’t touch it. When will I ever learn? I do remember reading that the poison ivy vine is famous for climbing trees…

  2. The mottled colors are so gorgeous together. We have American birch trees on our property and I love it when they turn golden. All your photos are beautiful. 🍁

    1. Thank you, Ally! I fell in love with its stretching, wide-spreading branches, and it seemed like the leaves were going from green to gold to copper. 🍂

    1. Thank you, Jane. It seems like since the pandemic started we’ve been seeing glacial erratics everywhere!

      1. This may not be what you mean, but I think the idea of glacial erratics is really a metaphor for so many things! Keepsakes from an earlier time, ideas that have been discarded, …

        1. I know what you mean, they seem to be gentle reminders of impermanence, that the earth is ever-changing, continents are still on the move, and nothing lasts forever…

    1. The scars fascinated me because most of the time a tree deals with injury by making a burl, which stick out, but these turned in…

  3. Our autumn sounds much like yours thus far — too much moisture and too much heat. Doesn’t make for those striking fall displays that we’ve come to love, right? Anyway, I think you’ve got some lovely shots here, and thank you for introducing me to that new bird. I’ve never heard of a merganser before!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. We’re all on some weird weather roller coaster it would seem, swinging from one extreme to another. I miss the autumns of my childhood! I had heard of hooded mergansers before but never expected to encounter one in person. 🙂 I hope you get to see one some day — Google says they are uncommon migrants through Illinois.

  4. What beautiful foliage you found, Barbara. I loved the little blueberry growing on the erratic in the pond– beautiful and tough! And sighting a pair of hooded mergansers… congrats!

    1. Thank you, Eliza! We figured if we were going to find colors anywhere an arboretum would be our best bet. 😉 Spotting the hooded mergansers was the icing on the cake. Thank you for identifying the blueberry! I photographed it last year, too, so now I know what it is. Will have to come back in the summer and see what it looks like then.

  5. Looks like you’re getting your fall colors, Barbara. So many nice photos of the beauty blooming all around. And yay for the hooded merganser! Haven’t seen them much, but they’re always a treat.

    1. Yay, the fall colors have arrived! How lucky you are to have seen hooded mergansers more than once! My brother-in-law volunteers at the arboretum and he’s never seen them there before. They are very eye-catching.

  6. Beautiful pictures, Barbara! That hooded merganser is quite magnificent! I’m at the beach this week and have looked more closely at the variety of birds. I have thought of your wonderful pictures.

    1. Thank you, Anna! I bet you have a great number of different kinds of birds to observe at a Florida beach! My mother used to love birdwatching down there when we’d go visit my aunts in the winter. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Donna! Those leaves were pretty dazzling in the water-reflected sunlight and the camera captured it better than I thought it would. 🙂 Spotting the Hooded Mergansers made my day!

  7. The leaves were still pretty, even though some were mottled as you say, but with sun shining through who notices the less than perfect ones? The red leaves are always my favorite. A perfect Fall walk and in a month, those berries that remind you of Yuletide berries may be cloaked in snow (let’s hope not). We were way above normal, now 10 degrees below normal, but we get a break for a few days this weekend. I have never seen a Hooded Merganser – what a lucky find! I hope I’ll see a pair sometime, as well as a Wood Duck, another unique bird. I saw two Gold-Crowned Kinglets flying around a weed (an embarrassingly tall thistle weed) the other day. I kept meaning to pull it but need my gloves to do it and they weren’t handy. The first time seeing this bird and so very tiny, smaller than a chickadee and both were sitting on the weed (more eye rolling on my part). Those are impressive erratics we well.

    1. You know, I’m growing quite fond of that mottled look. I’d go so far as to say that mottled leaves have much more character. 🙂 The reds are my favorites, too, but we have mostly yellow around here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wood duck although they should be around here. But for now I’m enjoying the hooded merganser “high.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a golden-crowned kinglet either. If it’s smaller than a chickadee it must be very cute! So happy for you that you got see a couple of them! (They say leaving the weeds until spring helps the winter birds.) Sometimes I wonder if I just sat still in a birding spot I might see more birds. I’m so busy walking I bet I miss quite a few, even though I am looking. But it seems like every once in a while a new bird comes into my life and it tickles me pink. 🙂 We finally got a freeze last night!

      1. I thought of you today Barbara. I went back to the Detroit River Wildlife Refuge and Elizabeth Park and there were mostly mottled leaves. They were fluttering down, but that coloring has to be because of the warm October – I have never seen so many. I would be on a high from the Merganser pair too! I’ve only seen them in photos, not “in person” and I went all over one wooded area looking for a pair of Wood Ducks that the local Audubon Society posted on their website. I saw nothing – oh well. Those Kinglets were so sweet – smaller than a Goldfinch, the size of a Chickadee and of course did not have my camera handy. Now, I’m not wearing a fanny pack so it is tucked inside a zippered pocket and not as accessible. I am worn out – walked at three parks, then came home and worked in the yard for four hours – almost seven miles walked. I got here late and I think I will not be lasting too long tonight. We had a beautiful day and two more before cold/rain and talk of snowflakes next weekend. I seized the opportunity to get out. I took pictures on the fishing pier of frost which, because of high humidity was slippery. I didn’t walk the full deck as it is on an incline and didn’t want to wipe out – and so the slick surfaces are here – sigh.

        1. Love those autumn days when the leaves are fluttering down. You were lucky! One day, years ago, when I came out of a medical appointment my car was covered with leaves. So I took a drive on some back roads through a wonderland of fluttering leaves. It was so magical and rare! Seven miles! I’m impressed. I bet you’re worn out but it’s a good feeling being worn out from physical activity, rather than being worn out from stress. Happy to hear you’re getting out while you’ve got the chance. No snowflakes yet, please! (There’s a time and place for everything and it’s not time yet!!!) The weather sure keeps us on our toes…

          1. It sure felt good to get out a good portion of this weekend – putting the yard to bed and a long walk in this beautiful Fall weather was hard to resist; there will be more leaves to rake, but I am sure it won’t be as nice as this weekend. The leaves are fluttering down at a rapid pace – I am sure it did feel magical for sure.

          2. You know, if you leave the leaves on the ground until spring they provide cover for the bugs that attract birds… That being said, I used to love raking leaves in the autumn air at my parents’ house. I’m glad you had some good weather and enjoyed being outside last weekend.

  8. Such a wonderful walk. Autumn walks are so refreshing. Each leaf is different.

    I visited the local arboretum last Saturday but got busy with work and seminars. I should probably get some time this weekend to work on my images and share them with others.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thank you, Rupali, and welcome to my blog! You’re right, each leaf is different and I suppose that is why I never get tired of taking so many pictures of them. If you do get a chance to post your arboretum pictures I am looking forward to seeing them. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and getting some rest.

  9. I so enjoyed sharing this autumn walk with you, Barbara, thank you. The leaf colors are gorgeous. I espec. like your photo “view of pond through the underside of leaves.” Fun too to see the different leaves and their imperfections. I liked the poison ivy leaves too. Our poison oak is so colorful right now, too, and it’s always interesting to me how beautiful this frightening plant can be. Also liked the big beech tree photos, and the glacial erratics. I had to visit Wikipedia to get the gist of glacial erratics, which I found very interesting. But it was when I got to your lifer photo that I gasped and my hand went to my heart. How absolutely fantastic to see a male hooded merganser, and such an incredibly handsome individual you came upon. What a find. Great that you pursued them. Thanks so much, Barbara.

    1. It’s always nice to have you along on a walk, Jet! I’m glad you enjoyed all the colors and the hooded mergansers. The first place we took a walk at the beginning of the pandemic was a glacial park in the town just north of us. Our area is littered with these boulders deposited here by the continental ice sheet during the last Ice Age. The park had erratics of every size and shape as far as our eyes could see. Since that visit we’ve been noticing them almost everywhere we go. My sister is a geologist so she tries to educate us as we go along. 🙂 Thanks so much for your visit!

A box for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.