As late autumn slowly fades into early winter, many forms of wildlife are on the move. Itís time to find a safe place to spend the cold months ahead waiting for spring to come.
The sunrise brings huge flocks of chirping red-winged blackbirds and clucking grackles. They pass high over the house, heading south, in an excited frenzy.
Off and on through the day the faint calls of robins and bluebirds can be heard as they move along the edge of the woods.
In the warmth of the sun, wooly-bear caterpillars cross the blacktop road as they search for a place to hide for the winter.
The water striders with their long outstretched legs, still scurry across the calm water of a quiet pool in the creek.
A grass snake finds some last minute warmth as he crawls through the grass near the garden. He catches grasshoppers that may be his last meal before curling up under a log to sleep the winter away.
A young red-tailed hawk may find itself running across a pasture like a chicken as she snatches up the last grasshoppers. These cooler days have given a new meaning to the young hawks hunger and she catches whatever she can to satisfy it.
A few dried leaves rustle slightly as a small blue spotted salamander searches for earthworms and small insects. He too is looking for a place to spend the long winter months. Like the snakes, they may find safety from the cold under an old stump or log.
The blue spotted salamander is a common resident here and this is the best time of year to see them. These toothless and harmless amphibians live among the cool leafy shade of the forest floor. Being only 4-5 inches long, they are very inconspicuous and rarely appear from under the leaves.
The beautiful blue spotted salamanders are of a group known as mole salamanders and are found further north than any others of that group.
They breed in the spring in the small woodland ponds and potholes and lay their eggs in these quiet waters.
As wildlife is now on the move thereís always lots to see while on a walk down natureís trail. Take advantage of these remaining fall days and find the time to get closer to the earth. Mother Nature invites you to see her mysteries, get outside and go for a walk.
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