Friday, November 4, 2011

Things to Look For in November

I've been traveling and away from the Natural Capital a bit, including a trip to the midwest to celebrate some of life's extremes: I visited my grandma, who is turning 90 next month, and my friend's baby, who is 9 months old. Apologies for the lighter posting schedule, but you can always check out places to go in old posts via the navigation bar up above. Here are some of the wonderful things to look for that we've posted in previous Novembers. Links are to previous posts on the Natural Capital.

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia Albicollis)
White throated sparrow by Dave Maher
The white throated sparrows are back in town for the winter. Listen for their song of "Oh Canada, Canada, Canada" as they long for their summer home. It's always nice, as the weather starts to get colder and colder, to remind myself that some critters think our winter is downright balmy, and travel hundreds of miles to enjoy it.
Witch hazel by pellaea
As one of the last things in the DC area to flower in the fall, witch hazel has a special place in my heart. It's not that the flowers are particularly showy -- the petals are just small yellow wisps, really. But they start blooming in October, and can keep going until Thanksgiving or even later.
Persimmon fruits, my Thanksgiving treat
Persimmons by Janet Powell
Persimmons are another special late-year treat -- though this year, they've been falling for a few weeks already. When they're not ripe, they'll make your mouth pucker. But when they're soft to the point of falling off the tree, they're sweet and luscious.

Staghorn sumac on the C&O Canal by Cindy Cohen
One of Matt's walks found persimmons and several other fruits on the C&O canal in the middle of November last year. Check out the list of what they found, complete with pictures.
Flavoparmelia caperata
Lichen by Paul Morris
As most of the plants are dying back, our attention starts to turn to less showy but still fascinating things in the forest. Like lichen. Take a field trip with a lichenologist in this video from Science Friday.
Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo)
Wild turkeys by pverdonk
Of course, by the end of the month, most of us will be thinking of turkey. Read our post for some fun facts about wild turkeys, which apparently live in Rock Creek Park -- last year just after our post a reader told me she regularly sees them off Military Road. Keep an eye out!