Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Walk - Signs of Autumn

Let's go outside in the cool of the morning.  Today is our last 'comfortable' day for a while with a high forecast of 87°. Then we have a mini-August heatwave with temps of 96°. 103°, 100°, and 94° before finally cooling to 88° on Monday.

By mid-August the first signs of autumn begin to appear.

The Big Leaf Maples are heavy with ripe seeds. It looks to be a bountiful crop this year - the squirrels will be pleased!

I did not do a good job watching this 'newly' constructed nest hole.  And now it is abandoned for the season. 

We are lucky to have few large pools of water remain in the Big Creek.
The temperature is cooler here and the trees along the banks are filled with bird activity.

The Ocean Spray is an autumnal beige. 

I found this insect trap in the brush near our mailbox.  I expect that its function is to trap Asian Gypsy Moths. I remember one summer the eradication efforts included multiple helicopters dropping pesticides while flying low to the contours of the terrain - it was like something out of a Viet Nam nightmare.   
To quote "Although Asian gypsy moths are not established in Oregon, they were detected in the summer 2015 in Forest Park, North Portland and in Washington state. The Asian gypsy moth is an exotic pest and a closely related species to the European gypsy moth. The European gypsy moth is well known for defoliating (eating leaves off of trees) an average of 700,000 acres per year, and as much as 12.9 million acres of forest in the eastern United States in a single year. In the last 30 years, Asian gypsy moth has been detected in Oregon three times and successfully eradicated each time. The national policy is to eradicate Asian gypsy moth if detected, because of its ability to quickly defoliate large tracts of forest. The moths that were detected in Portland were likely from cargo or vessels originating from Asia in 2014.
Since the Asian gypsy moth was just detected in the summer of 2015, we have a unique and small window of opportunity to ensure the population does not become established in Oregon. If we are able to terminate any early infestations of gypsy moth caterpillars that hatch this coming spring, then we can avoid the species establishing a population in our forest." From Asian Gypsy Moth: Threat and Opportunity in Oregon, by the Oregon Invasive Species Council and Oregon Department of Agriculture

These formerly pink blooms are now a rusty brown. 

Most of the Douglas fir cones are still young and green.

The Big Leaf Maples are turning color - heat and lack of rain are causing the changes.

The White Oaks are heavy with oak galls.  I am hoping they will have a good crop of acorns too, though I have not seen any.

Look how pretty the Vine Maple is now.

And the Bracken Ferns have gone from green to gold.

The fruit is ripening on our native Dogwoods.
There will be lots for the birds and other creatures to eat this fall.


Maggee said...

It is pretty amazing how it looks like Fall there already! Some plants around here are turning, but it is because of the extreme heat and humidity, not a change of seasons! We might have lost one of our new plants in front... looks bad! Sigh... I see a lot of evidence of what I think are 'tent caterpillars' in our travels. Lots! I can see where these can all devastate huge areas! Ugh!

Barb said...

Our landscape looks very much like yours. I have always questioned that helicopter spraying.