Seasonal Appearances of life in the Preserve
The hills come alive with the colors of Autumn. The yellows of Ash and Birch come first, then the reds and oranges of Maples, and later the browns and maroons of Oaks create a rich palette of color.
August and September: Black and Yellow Argiope spiders (often called garden spiders) become more conspicuous in their large webs after reaching adulthood. The webs have a large white zig-zag pattern in the middle which may prevent birds from hitting the web.
Bucks (male white-tailed deer) descend to the lower trails and even to the Marsh trail as they search for females (November mating season). This makes them easier to spot as for the rest of the year, they are hiding in the hills.
Migrating Raptors can be seen flying overhead. Sometimes they stop at the pond; recent sightings include osprey, merlin, kestrals. Even a Golden Eagle has made an appearance.
When the snow is deep and the wind blows cold, porcupines move around less and stay longer periods in certain hemlocks making them easier to find (a little bit easier anyway).
Tracks in the snow show the presence of ruffed grouse, turkey, mink, coyote, fox, and other resident animals.
The time no naturalist can miss being outside. The return of songbirds as the males sing to form territories. Many non-resident songbirds and raptors may be heard or even spotted as they pass through during northward migration.
Find beautiful wildflowers if the deer haven't eaten them. Please don't pick 'em!
Sometimes as early as Late February, but usually the first warm rainy night of March, the yellow-spotted salamanders cross the connector road as they migrate from the CIW woods to the pond to breed. Spermatophors, tiny white masses on submerged leaves and branches can be seen soon after migration. Egg masses appear late March and Early April.
Woodcocks perform their spiral, twittering, plumet of a courtship ritual in late March.
Wood Frogs and, sometimes Pickeral Frogs can be heard in early spring (late March and early April). Spring Peepers, the smallest, but loudest frogs in the Nature Preserve can be deafening on the bridge. Green Frogs begin calling at this time.
Northern Brown Watersnakes can be seen congregating, courting, and mating at the bridge.
Dazzling Dragonflies and Damselflies flit around luxuriant vegatation, catching other insects, including flies and all the other insects that bite us (go Dragons!).
Spring Peepers and Green Frogs continue to call throughout the summer.
Painted Turtles and sometimes Snapping Turtles sun themselves on logs.
Northern Brown Water Snakes can be seen swimming or basking.