Nature in Autumn
Fall is one of the best times of the year. I love the Fall. I think it is my favorite season of the year. Where I live in the mid-Atlantic region, the trees put on a spectacular foliage display. The days are clear, crisp and cool. I take long walks and breathe deeply.
Autumn is a season of change from summer to winter. It is known as Fall in some parts of North America because of the falling leaves of deciduous trees.
Autumn begins with the Autumnal equinox. As the earth tilts closer to the sun, days become shorter and nights grow longer.
September, October, and November are the autumn months in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn is from March until June.
Autumn ends with the winter solstice and the beginning of the winter season.
In the Autumn Sky
Big bright full moons grace the autumn sky. The Harvest moon is the first full moon after the autumnal equinox. This bright moon’s late evening light after sundown helps farmers work late to bring in the crops. The next special moon is the Hunter’s Moon. It is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. This special moon rises soon after sunset and provides hunters which extra light to track prey.
There are new stars in the autumn sky. As summer turns into autumn, a new cycle of stars is visible. In the northern hemisphere Cassiopeia, Pegasus, and Cygnus grace the night sky.
At this time of year, the earth is facing out into space. This gives us a good chance to see The Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest galaxy neighbor.
The autumn weather changes to cooler temperatures. Autumn’s weather can be wicked. September is the month that averages the most hurricanes. In some areas, autumn is the season for the most rainfall, due to tropical storms and hurricanes.
The fair weather of Indian summer comes as a pleasant reminder of recent days gone by, as the temperatures grow colder.
Gardeners and farmers watch out for the first killing frost which signals the end of the growing season.
Plants in Autumn
In the Northern Hemisphere, tree leaves change color beginning at the Canadian border and moving down the mountains and into valleys and coastal areas. Deciduous trees delight eyes with brilliant colors of golds, oranges, and reds. Length of daylight and chemicals in leaves are behind why leaves change colors.
Conifers or evergreen trees remain green throughout the year and drop their needles mostly in the spring.
Plants cast their seeds on the wind, hitch a ride on a passerby or get eaten and dispersed by hungry animals fattening up for the coming winter.
This is harvest time. Gardeners and farmers gather apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, and corn. The first killing frosts signal the end to the big harvest.
Animals in Autumn
Many animals begin their migration to milder temperatures and a steadier food supply. Birds migrate along the flyways of North America. Birds of prey migrate south to find more abundant food sources.
Some animals hibernate including bats, chipmunks, and woodchucks. Bears go into a deep hibernation-like sleep.
Many insects die as the colder weather of winter approaches. Some insects migrate deeper into the ground. But there are other insects that hibernate in the egg, larval or pupal stage. Several species of butterflies migrate to warmer climates.
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