Equinox Tree – half fall colors, half greenery; observed near Ann Lee Pond Nature and Historic Preserve in the Town of Colonie
The autumnal equinox will arrive Friday afternoon. The shorter days and cooler nights to follow will usher in a new season of vibrantly colored foliage throughout the area. Read about the status of fall colors. Read about the dozen best places in the Capital Region to view fall colors. See other leaf-peeping opportunities throughout New York. View a quick guide to the fall colors of tree leaves.
However, I invite you to view fall colors…from a different perspective (slide show or video). Most of these plants can be viewed in your community, your neighborhood, even in your own backyard.
Here is a list of autumn activities to consider:
Yesterday, I concluded my wildflower inventory at Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood, which is located in the Town of Ballston. I was able to add one more species for this park and am now ready to assemble a wildflower field guide. The guide should be ready for spring 2018.
During my visit, I saw –
Hairy White Oldfield Aster
White Wood Aster
Small White Aster
I also observed this red berry sampler along the way –
Yesterday, I concluded my wildflower inventory of the Historic Champlain Canalway Trail segment located in the Town of Waterford. I found a few more species to add to my list; I am ready to expand my wildflower field guide for this trail, which will now include the segment in this town as well as a longer segment in the Town of Halfmoon.
Yesterday’s mostly sunny sky and blooming wildflowers belied the fact that autumn is rapidly approaching. A sneak peek at fall colors is beginning to appear everywhere.
Lopseed exhibiting its fall foliage
During my outing, I observed the following –
Climbing False Buckwheat
Cranberry Viburnum fruit – while edible, I don’t like their flavor.
Virginia Creeper fruit – highly toxic to humans.
Gray Dogwood fruit – important food for songbirds.
Common Evening Primrose
Hog Peanut seedpods – these seeds are not edible.
Autumn-olive fruit – can be made into a jam high in lycopene.
Devil’s Beggar Ticks (AKA Sticktight)
Tall Rattlesnake Root
During my routine wildflower inventory visit to Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood in the Town of Ballston today, I discovered several Nodding Bur Marigold plants and found one with an opened bloom. Also referred to as Nodding Beggar Ticks, this native wildflower is one of several species that waits until September each year before beginning to bloom.
Nodding Beggar Ticks
All of these plants were located in the wetland area just beyond the end of the Hawkwood Trail (white markers) at the western end of this property. Not far from that blooming specimen, I discovered a closely related plant also in bloom.
Swamp Beggar Ticks
On my way out of the wetland to rejoin the trail and continue my inventory, I found yet another closely related plant also in bloom.
Devil’s Beggar Ticks
These plants look very similar to one another and are indeed related to one another because they are in the same genus – Bidens, which means two teeth.
Of the three shown above, Bidens frondosa (Sticktight, but also referred to as Devil’s Beggar Ticks) is by far the most common Bidens that I encounter on area nature preserves, parks and trails. Swamp Beggar Ticks (Bidens connata) is a distant second and Nodding Beggar Ticks (Bidens cernua) is not often observed.
Bidens provide a source of food for a number of species of songbirds and waterfowl (such as Wood Duck). Muskrats eat the stem and leaves of Devil’s Beggar Ticks while waterfowl and songbirds (such as Swamp Sparrow) eat the seeds.