November 2022 Nature Almanac

Shadbush in my garden

Here in Lenapehoking (Philadelphia)…

In Lenape Algonquian, this time is called Kilchilachqoak (autumn, time of the grasshoppers). I did see a dead grasshopper on the swiss chard leaves in my garden. Along with a dead Black Swallowtail caterpillar in my vertical planter. I think it climbed into the water reservoir and couldn’t get out. 

deep red Shadbush in autumn
Deep red Shadbush in autumn

The Shadbush’s fall color is just spectacular. The photo above is of the tree in my backyard. The last three years the tree was infected by cedar apple rust. The berries were covered with weird spikey growth of fungi that shed clouds of dust when the branches were shaken by the wind. At the tree;s sickest I was worried the tree that alert me to the times and seasons, would die and have to cut down. But she made it.

She looked so healthy this summer with just a few infected berries on the tree. And now she is back full force. She is brilliant on cloudy autumn days as raindrops glisten on the fiery orange leaves.

I’ve been finding dead insects. Dead Lantern flies, Black Swallowtail caterpillars, grasshoppers, barely moving bumble bees, etc. in my new book, Autumn in the Natural World, I explain the methods insects use to survive the winter. Not the dead adults I found but larva and eggs which are safely frozen for the winter.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillars are still around.  I haven’t seen any chrysalis, yet.

Playing Possum Virginia Opossum
Playing Possum Virginia Opossum

Not So Dead Possum

Faker. This little possum was in my garden the other morning. I think it must have panicked and went into, “playing dead” mode when it saw me. Which was just before I saw her/him. I saw it move slightly and was praying it wasn’t yet another dead animal that decided to expire in my backyard knowing that I would give it a respectful burial.

I left this little guy/gal alone. When I checked on it about fifteen minutes later it was long gone. Whew, dodged another animal burial.


Native Plant of the Month: Red Bud with Golden Yellow Leaves

This tree has it all, beautiful pinky-red spring buds filled with nectar and golden yellow leaves in the fall. This small understory tree will bring beauty to my front year for years to come. More on the Redbud.

Invasive Species of the Month: None, we need a break. 

Autumn in the Natural World, Now Available for Sale

The paperback version is now available through The book is filled with explanations the amazing ways the bodies pf plants and animals change to survive. From chemical reactions to freezing solid to digging deeper into the mud, Mother Earth is awe-inspiring.  Available in pdf $5.99 and paperback $12.95. Get it here.


Did You Know?

“Insects are essentially, little bags of water. The fluid that fills that bag is called Hemolymph.  Hemolymph is like antifreeze. The substance is mainly water and transports nutrients for the body, gives support for the organs, main pressure and sometimes function as a defense aid (p.177, Halfpenny and Ozanne). Some insects can super-cool. Insects being small bags of water, are able drop the temperature of their internal water, to very low temperatures. This process is called super-cooling and has to do with freezing points of impurity-free water.” page 32, Autumn in the Natural World


November 2022 Nature Almanac

What to Observe, Draw, and Photograph Right Now 

  1. How many dead insects can you find? Are they adults or juvenile forms?
  2. November has three meteor showers this month. Watch one or more.
  3. There is a lunar eclipse this month. Of course it happens in the mid of the night in my night of the woods.
  4. Are the fall foliage colors brilliant or just so-so this season? What weather conditions lead to this situation?
  5. Spring buds and autumn leaves – what are the spring flower and autumn leaf colors of your local trees? The shadbush in my backyard has white flowers and fiery red autumn leaves, the Redbud has pinky-red flowers and golden yellow autumn leaves.

Citizen Science

Feeder Watch Starts November 1. It’s not too late to start. See

Project FeederWatch Info, Tips, and Nature Journaling Ideas

Branch of Yellow Autumn Leaves. Shallow DOF

November 2022 Season Dates: Eastern Woodland

Season: “Tachquoak”  – harvest and fall of leaf” (Lenape Algonquin)

Lenape seasonal names

  • Tachquoak (fall)
  • Kilchilachqoak (autumn, time of the grasshoppers)
  • Pooxit (time of the falling leaves 

Rappahannock season: “Taquitock” – harvest and fall of leaves

Shadbush (indicator plant) in full orange/red fall foliage, leaves falling

Autumn last 90 days from the Autumnal Equinox until the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2022, 4:48 p.m. EST. Autumnal Equinox, September 22, 2022 9:04 p.m. EDT in the Northern Hemisphere.

November 2022: In the Sky This Month

November 8th – Total eclipse of the Moon visible from North America, the Moon will be setting during the eclipse for viewers in eastern regions. Moon will enter penumbra (partial shadow) at 3:01 a.m. EST and leave it at 8:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. PST)

  • Nov. 1st – First Quarter
  • Nov. 8th Full Moon
  • Nov. 16th – Last Quarter
  • Nov. 23rd – New Moon
  • Nov. 30th – First Quarter 

November 2022: Moon and the Night Sky

  • New moon always rises near sunrise, sets at sunset
  • First Quarter near noon, Rises at noon, sets at midnight
  • Full Moon always rises near sunset, sets at sunrise 
  • Winter Full Moons are high in the sky
  • Last Quarter rises near midnight, sets at noon  
  • Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day


  • Pleiades are in the sky
  • Nov. 9 – Northern Taurid Meteor shower in late evening from the southern sky
  • Nov. 17, 18 – Leonid Meteor shower in predawn hours, from the southern sky
  • Nov. 25-27 – Andromedid Meteor shower in late evening, from southern sky

That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of November. 

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Next month: December 2022 Nature Almanac

Past Nature Almanacs

October 2022 Nature Almanac

November 2021 Nature Almanac

November 2020 Nature Almanac


    • Good morning Gwen. Thanks for your question. An indicator plant is what is used as a benchmark. We note when it blooms, sets fruit and seeds, and shed it leaves. What goest on at the same time? When the shadbush blooms in April in my backyard, the shad fish are returning to the Schuylkill River in abundance. It is a good time to catch shad. The shadbush blooms a couple weeks before the last spring frost and the Pleiades will reappear in the sky soon, signalling the beginning of the growing season. My post on Phenology and Collecting Phenology Data explain the concepts in more detail.

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