The Mountain Log

A week-by-week look at what is happening in nature.

A special thanks to Virginia Barlow’s Ginny’s Calendar in Northern Woodlands Magazine.

photo by ramson

Week 38

Halloween lady beetles are seeking shelter in buildings. Each one has consumed about 300 aphids during its larval stage, but these newcomers might be outcompeting native lady beetles / Acidic sap is responsible for the red/orange color of sugar maple leaves. Alkaline sap contributes to the cool purple leaves of white ash.


photo by Patrik Hedström

Week 37

Sparrow migration is well underway, with white-crowned, song, chipping, white-throated, savannah, swamp, and fox sparrows on the move / Crickets may move into buildings as they search for places to hibernate. Their incessant chirping can be aggravating at close range / Milkweed seeds are airborne / Wood turtles return to streams, rivers, and ponds to mate before hibernating in undercut banks and root masses / White pines drop half their needles every autumn.


photo by Folke Lehr

Week 36

Silverrod, the only goldenrod that isn’t yellow, is blooming / Now a raven’s diet will include corn, blackberries, and other fruits. In winter, it’s back to mostly carrion / Large adult woodchucks are busy eating up to one and a half pounds of food a day / Hummingbirds drop their temperature and metabolism at night to conserve energy. They enter a state of torpor, but since they weigh a mere tenth of an ounce, they can warm and revive themselves quickly.


photo by milesizz

Week 35

The large, white flower heads of boneset can be seen at the edges of wetlands. Its opposite leaves are fused to one another across the stem, a feature that may have given rise to the name / The tiny woodland jumping mouse can jump more than eight feet. Its nest is a ball of shredded material under a fallen tree / Jewelweed seeds are being propelled up to four feet from their explosive capsules. Jewelweed is an annual, unlike the vast majority of wildflowers.


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