DELMARVA ALMANAC

Glorious Fall Flora & Fauna

by Dana Kester-McCabe



The Eastern Shore may not be known for the dramatic fall colors found in cooler regions. But we certainly have a beautiful Fall season worthy of high praise. All in all this is one of the best times to get outdoors on Delmarva.

Recently I took a walk on the Adkins Mill Park boardwalk which leads into its beautiful Cypress swamp. Looking up at the forest canopy was like looking at lovely stained glass. Or maybe that should be stated the other way around. When you visit our forests, fields, and marshes, you can see why nature has always inspired artists. Even the forest floor is a delight to look at. By the end of this month the leaves will mostly be gone but still the color will impress.

And as usual here on the Shore there is lots of wildlife to see. I have a new birding spot near my home where I got a picture of three members of a flock of flickers. Say that three times fast.

The birding is generally very good this time of year with many birds starting to arrive or pass through our area. The leaves are starting to fall and that makes seeing birds a little easier. The Neo-tropical warblers are often noted at this time. Seems like everywhere I look in the last couple of weeks I see a yellow rumped warbler. A good place to look for any of these song birds is anywhere there are berries or dried seeds, particularly along ditches and wooded areas.

Other birds I have photographed in recent weeks include this gray catbird, a red bellied woodpecker, another of our ubiquitous blue herons, and the beautiful but nasty blue jay. On my way to church last Sunday this beautiful hawk sat for a portrait. I believe this is a Northern Harrier also known as a marsh hawk. Hawks are also here in greater abundance this time of year as they make their winter migration. Look for hawks along the wooded edges of meadows and farm fields where they hunt for small birds and rodents.

Closer to the ground, this mangy fox has been seen cruising through the field outside my window for several days. I was a safe distance away when I took these pictures. She could see me but she didn’t seem to mind me watching her hunting for the little critters that live under the now harvested soybean field.

Now is also prime time to see deer. These fellows have been clearly mixing it up as bucks tend to do at this time of year. They are beginning to rut so be on the lookout for them darting into roadways especially at dusk or after dark.

Correction: I asked birding guide Dave Wilson to let me know if I had the proper identification of the hawk in this story. He syas: "Looks like a juvy redtail. Notice how short the tail is. Harriers have nice long tails." Thanks for the clarification Dave!

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