Autumn is in the air
At this time of the year, the Garter Snakes come out on the trail to try and soak up the sun. They are trying to warm up their cold-blooded body. They are very lethargic because they are cold. They can’t move very fast and it takes a lot of energy to make quick moves. It’s a risk for the snakes to come out in the open in this way as it makes them easy prey for migrating hawks.
The Magnolia Warbler is one of the Wood-warblers whose plumage changes dramatically going into winter.
White Admiral Butterfly
The butterflies like the Standing Fuscia too.
It is that time of year when the Hummingbirds start swarming the feeders again. After, what is known as post-breeding dispersal, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds start their migration to the tropics. Many juveniles are coming around trying out all the flowers too. The male Ruby-throated Hummers are still here now, but it seems they leave for southern climes first. The stragglers that hang around are usually the juvenile birds. Hummers leave the Crane Lake area on average around Sept 12th.
A “must see” attraction that is located west of Orr, would be the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary.
Black Bear at Vince Shute
There you can see wild Bears come into the feeding stations that are maintained by the volunteers at the American Bear Association.
Black Bear yearling
Black Bear yearling
The yearling bears are wary of the bigger bears. They’ve recently been through the traumatic separation from their mother. When the mother bear has new cubs in the spring, she runs off her young from the previous year. The volunteers described how heart-wrenching it is to see it happen. The mother is really mean to her yearling by chasing it and making it climb trees and not let it come down.
These are wild bears and people are encouraged to scare the bears if they see any on the drive into the sanctuary. Once you are in the boundaries of the sanctuary, you are advised to do the opposite. They try to habituate the bears to that area, once outside the boundaries they should be treated like all other bears.
“Cheeky” is one of the biggest bears that frequent the sanctuary. A volunteer estimated his weight at 600 pounds.
Bear playing in the cedar chips
There was a big pile of cedar chips in the yard. The volunteer at the sanctuary said that the bears like to roll around in the cedar chips. She speculated that the bear may be trying to rub off ticks or maybe he just liked the smell!
The Indian Pipe is blooming over at the Gorge Hiking Trail.
This delicate flower looks like it should be a mushroom or a fungus of some sort. It’s white because it has no chlorophyll which has inspired some of the other names for this plant: Ghost Flower, Corpse Plant.
The Wintergreen is starting to flower.
Wintergreen or Checkerberry, is a low growing evergreen plant (Gaultheria procumbens) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to sandy and acid woods (usually of evergreens) of E North America.
This little plant gets pretty red berries that hang on the plant through the winter and will still be attached to the plant the following spring. That is, if it doesn’t get eaten first. Birds will eat the berries and other critters probably do too. The plant remains green under the snow.
A wildflower that blooms a little later is the Pipsissewa.
pips in hand
Their beautiful little flowers hang upside down and you must get down low to see their beauty.
They’re low growing and are often hidden among other vegetation. This unusual little plant is evergreen – the leaves will still be green under the snow this winter.
The Wild Strawberries are prolific this year!
And they’re nice and big!
And so Sweet!