Warm days, cool nights, sometimes rainy and blustery — that’s fall. You never know what it’s going to be like because the weather changes day to day, or even from morning until evening. But the combination of short daylength (less than 12 hrs of daylight) and very cool nights starts the color change in the vegetation that we love to see. (For an explanation of how that color change happens — click here.)
Not all plants are as sensitive to the daylength and temperature cues — making the fall season a long and colorful display.
Maples and aspens are some of the first to show their fall colors, and oaks are one of the last, making the forest a kaleidoscope of green, yellow, red, and orange.
A few remaining flowers like this New England Aster can still be found in the prairie, but there are few insects around.
Milkweed pods open to disperse their airborne seeds.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of the more abundant migrant species, found and heard in almost every habitat — even the prairie.
Waves of warblers (like this Nashville Warbler) move through with the weather fronts in the fall. But these are wary little birds, and even harder to photograph in the fall when they are feeding ravenously to replenish their migratory fat supply than they were back in the spring when they came through on their way north.