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 Ed Gaillard

Week 45

At over 100 pounds, this year’s male bear cubs have well outgrown the females / The brown, fertile fronds of sensitive fern will release spores in spring. Gray fronds are two years old, and their spores are already gone / Chipping sparrows have big appetites: each one will eat 160 times its weight in seeds over the course of a winter / Bullfrogs and green frogs spend the winter in ponds, insulated against freezing by the layer of ice on top of the pond.

Photo by gillfoto

Week 44

Healthy bear cubs now weigh at least 75 pounds and will soon follow their mothers into winter dens / In cold weather, carpenter ants cluster together in the center of their nest and are helplessly sluggish / Luna moth cocoons, wrapped in leaves, have fallen to the ground / Twinflower fruits are eaten by ruffed grouse and other birds that feed on the ground / Autumn overturn is completed in lakes as the water temperature reaches a uniform 4°C (39.4°F).

Photo by mizmak

Week 43

Frail, light tan Bruce spanworm moths, also called Hunter’s moths, may be abundant in sugar maple stands on sunny days from mid October through November / The white midribs of the leaves and the bright red berries of partridgeberry both contribute to the good cheer spread by this ground-hugging plant / Snow geese may still be passing through.

Photo by BlueRidgeKitties

Week 42

Rattlesnake plantain (really an orchid) stays green all winter. The leaves are covered with a net of white veins and grow in a small rosette / Chipmunks will keep coming out if it is warm / Great blue herons are often seen this late in the year, but these stragglers will soon be gone / The entire population of greater snow geese, about 250,000 birds, migrates south between the Hudson and the Connecticut River / Aspen buds are a favorite food of ruffed grouse.

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