Please enjoy our October edition!

"October is the month for painted leaves.... As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Autumnal Tints"

What are you seeing out there? We'd love to hear from you! The following posts are from some of our local Harpswell Nature Watchers. All of the contributions below are seen immediately in our Facebook group.

Click here for more information about Harpswell Nature Watchers.
There is a good drop of acorns this year, a bounty for the wildlife that depend on such mast crops for their winter survival. Wild turkeys, red squirrels, chipmunks and white-tailed deer all devour the carbohydrate and protein loaded nuts to put on fat for the cold months ahead. Walking in a field yesterday I was lucky to see a Cooper's hawk dive into a bush in hopes of snagging a song sparrow. The hawk missed and the sparrow lived. The hawk will soon be on his way south for his annual migration.
(Submitted by Ed Robinson, October 2, 2019; Photo by John Berry)
Salamanders! On Tuesday, students from our two-day preschool program discovered two types of salamanders while playing outside (a yellow-spotted and several red-backed salamanders). All were discovered under logs, and treated with gentle hands before being returned to their hiding places.
(Submitted by Harpswell Community Nursery School, October 2, 2019)
The last few flowering asters are hanging on as the temperature drops and the plants prepare for winter. The bright purple aster below is a New York American aster ( Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ), although I could be convinced otherwise since asters can be quite tricky to identify.

The aster family of plants are interesting because their flower structure is different than most--the center of the “flower” is where you find the real flowers. The center is actually a disk of many tiny, densely packed tubular flowers. If you look closely with a magnifying glass, or hand lens, you will be able to see the individual miniature flowers containing the pistil and pollen-bearing stamens. Other common plants in this family include sunflowers, coreopsis, and daisies. On a sunflower, you can more easily see what I am describing.
(Submitted by Lynn Knight, October 23, 2019)
A whorled wood aster ( Aster acuminatus ) that has already gone to seed.
(Submitted by Lynn Knight, October 23, 2019)
With colder weather now, my bird feeders are attracting more visitors. This morning a blue jay faced down a hairy woodpecker for first rights on a bite of suet. With less damage from browntail moths this summer, our crab apple tree is carrying a nice load of fruit into winter. Sometime in February or March the robins and cedar waxwings will descend upon the tree and strip the fruit within an hour or so. For more about local wildlife:
(Submitted by Ed Robinson, October 31, 2019)