With the approach of autumn the days get shorter and the nights get chilly, so cold-blooded animals become numb or sluggish, and rarely seen. However this particular autumn, we’ve had many days that are pleasantly warm and the sun persistently brilliant, and in turn, creepy crawlers, buzzing bees, and slithering snakes have all been spotted by travelers in the White Mountains.
Lingering patches of New England Asters (tall, purple flowers) are well visited by a symphony of pollinators. In fact, on warm sunny afternoons, this last remaining source of nectar is veritably swarming with activity – from a distance, the outline of the bush appears fuzzy, due to the flurry of winged activity on each flower. Many Monarch butterflies take the opportunity to grab a snack on route, fueling for their commute to Mexico. Bumblebees, bees, and bee flies all drink to contentedness. Several other butterflies add color to the scene: the Milbert’s Turtoiseshell, a small black butterfly with a flame-like outline, and the Clouded Sulfur, wings a yellowish-green with specks of reddish-purple.
As the forest slowly packs up and prepares for winter, it is a welcome and pleasant treat to see so much spring-like activity. It is truly a feast to behold.