October’s Gifts

I began cutting back our garden on one of the few warm days before last week’s hard frost. It was sunny and windy. Yellow maple and apple leaves sailed through the yard. Blue jays called raucously. Chimpmunks and squirrels ate nuts and stashed others for the winter. A few flowers still bloomed, though most now sported full seed heads. Among the blooms were the last native bees and butterflies of autumn. Here are a few of late October’s simple gifts:

A tiny green bee (Agapostemon virescens)) looks for nectar in a blanket flower blossom (Gaillardia pulchella).

Common bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) are a hardy native bee. This one looks for nectar on a native sunflower (Helianthus spp).

A painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) suns itself on a native sunflower.

This tiny garden spider built a large web among some spent daylily stalks.

Thin-leaved coneflowers (Rudbeckia triloba) resemble miniature black-eyed Susan’s and bloom into early November.

The seed heads of the native perennial white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) are soft and fluffy.

These spent purple flowers of Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum) will ripen to a mass of soft, brown seeds.

Common milkweed pods (Asclepias syriaca) split open and released their soft, parachute-like seeds.

An eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) enjoys the mild afternoon on our back stoop.

An albino eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) snacks on nuts from its perch under the arbor vitae hedge.

I love hearing the sassy blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) call when most birds are quiet in the fall and winter.

Beacon apple leaves (Malus domestic ‘Beacon’) glow in the afternoon sun.

Quaking aspen leaves (Populus tremuloides) quiver and rustle in the smallest breeze creating a peaceful sound.

Red maples (Acer rubrum) smolder on crisp, late October afternoons.

8 thoughts on “October’s Gifts

  1. Beth, I love all of your nature photos and all of the strong verbs you use to describe them! Nature is especially beautiful at this time of year! I took a few of my own October photos and loved the sugar maple leaves that covered our front yard this year. Again THANK YOU for the reminder to notice the loveliness that surrounds us everyday!

    • Thanks for your comments, Stephanie! I’m so glad that you’ve been outside enjoying October’s beauty — especially the multicolored sugar maple leaves. They dress up the lawns and sidewalks for a few brief days!

    • Hi Mike, glad that you enjoyed the post and thanks for reading my blog. Just a guess on the squirrel ID. 🙂 I’ve not seen any fox squirrels in this area for many years. It’s also smaller than a fox squirrel. I saw it breeding with a gray squirrel and I don’t think gray and fox squirrels interbreed.

  2. Beth, your photos are exquisite! And I always learn from your blog entries. Thanks for inspiring me to pay attention more closely to the beauty surrounding me.

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