The beautiful leaves of fall are upon us (sometimes literally)!  It’s a wonderful time of year that seems to be slipping away very quickly.  In fact, the last couple of frosty nights mixed with high winds and rain have caused these leaves of just about every color to fall to the ground at an alarming rate.  So fast, that it’s impossible to tell that I raked them all out of my yard just the other day.  As we inch our way into winter, let’s get outside and see what’s happening in nature right now!

Autumn Meadowhawk

Some hardy insects like the Autumn meadowhawk (pictured above) are still out and about.  While visiting Horicon Marsh with my family the other day, we noticed a few of these dragonflies actively hunting smaller insects.  It was really cool watching them land on the boardwalk and then rotate their head side to side as they watched insects fly by.  I’ve noticed that with the colder weather, insect activity has really slowed down, but it was nice to know that there are some species that stick around for a while longer.

Trumpeter swans

While out at Horicon, we were expecting to see a ton of waterfowl since migration is beginning but I think we were just a bit early.  While we did see several different duck species, what was really neat was seeing a few handfuls of trumpeter swans floating about.  Their beautiful white feathers against the various golds and browns of fall were breathtaking.  It was a great reminder that Wisconsin is home to some pretty spectacular creatures.

Ambush bug getting ready to ambush

New England aster is one of my favorite fall flowers and while most have already flowered and begun going to seed, there are a few still hanging on if you’re lucky enough to find them.  While admiring them, don’t get too close because you may come face to face with an ambush bug!  If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see a little yellow insect that’s perfectly camouflaged with the yellow part of the flower.  It’s waiting for a pollinator to visit so it can have a nice meal!

Wild turkey strutting

Lastly, I’ll leave you with these fancy turkeys I stumbled upon while out on a hike.  Turkey strutting is more of a spring activity during their breeding season so it was a real treat getting to watch them do this just the other day.  They kept hopping up onto a log to display and then would hop off (rinse and repeat).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour and I’ll see you next time!

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