Nature Notes (#184)~Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese~Hal Borland


Nature Lovers from Canada, India, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and the United States participated in Nature Notes last week..

Thank you all so much!!


More cold followed by record-breaking warmth for a couple of days sent me looking for a pair of shorts to wear instead of long pants and a sweater. I was determined to take some time without my teeth chattering and my fingers turning blue to see what I could find in late fall… The front yard (below) is looking sparse and shaggy, but I won’t be cleaning it up till springtime.

There was a wonderful blog post by from “Beautiful Wildlife Garden which features a number of authors and Carole highlighted them in her post entitled Fall Wildlife Garden Chores.  One blog post mentioned covers my thoughts on this…

Debbie Roberts says about Fall Garden Cleanup:

It’s not hard to find a standard list of gardening chores to do before putting your garden to bed for the winter. The problem with some of the lists is that many of the chores, while well-intentioned, can actually be harmful to all sorts of local wildlife that rely on your garden for their very existence.

Many different kinds of wildlife rely on the leaf litter, plant stems, or fallen wood to survive the winter:

Some butterflies and moths over winter as eggs, larva and some as adults.

Remember my friend from this summer? The little spicebush swallowtail caterpillar that I found and raised on spicebush leaves? This little cat in its leaf-shaped chrysalis is still with me. It will over winter like this and I have had to move it from the house to the garage and then outside as it needs to experience the cold winters before emerging next spring. Hopefully I will have provided the right conditions for it to survive.

spicebush caterpillar in its curled leaf nest August 18, 2012

spicebush caterpillar August 19, 2012

and emerge next spring  to this beautiful butterfly

spicebush swallowtail butterfly


And something I just learned this past summer, one of my favorite moths, the hummingbird clearwing moth spends the winter as a caterpillar after it finds some leaf litter to hide in. If we rake it up, we rake them out.

If I had cut down all the dead plants and flowers, I would have killed other butterflies and moths who might have been on them…..


How do frogs survive winter? – Scientific AmericanAquatic frogs such as the leopard frog(Rana pipiens) and American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) typically hibernate underwater. A common misconception is that they spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, dug into the mud at the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate if they dug into the mud for an extended period of time. A hibernating turtle’s metabolism slows down so drastically that it can get by on the mud’s meager oxygen supply. Hibernating aquatic frogs, however, must be near oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from time to time.

green frog calling in advertisement for a mate


How do frogs survive winter? – Scientific AmericanTerrestrial frogs normally hibernate on land. American toads (Bufo americanus) and other frogs that are good diggers burrow deep into the soil, safely below the frost line. Some frogs, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) and the spring peeper (Hyla crucifer), are not adept at digging and instead seek out deep cracks and crevices in logs or rocks, or just dig down as far as they can in the leaf litter. These hibernacula are not as well protected from frigid weather and may freeze, along with their inhabitants.

American toad early in spring


When a bee colony dies at the end of the years like bumble bees, the fertilized queen finds a place to hide in a crack in the wood or somewhere she can be for the winter and emerge to start a new colony next spring.

bumble bee early in spring on lilac bud


And if we clear out the insects by cutting down the plants and taking away the leaves, we deprive the birds of a place to find insects in order to survive the winter. Even though I have bird feeders, I always have some birds looking through the garden for tiny insects. So consider leaving some garden debris to help wildlife survive the winter.


What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

1.Dianne- Catching the Fall- New Jersey, USA
2.Sivinden- Liv og røre i gata vÃ¥ r- Norway
3.Maboe- Nature Notes- Dream- Norway
4.Leora- Tufted Titmouse and Blue Jay- NJ, USA
5.Carver- Nature Notes: Mid November- NC, USA
6.Sue- Wordless- Fox Hunt- South Carolina, USA
7.Tina´s Pic Story-12 von 12 – autumn colors- Germany
8.Eileen- Woodpecker yardbirds- Maryland, USA
9.Denise- Juvenile Guinea Hens- Virginia, USA
10.Loredana Donovan- Blogging Away- Golden Forest- NY, US
11.Pat’s Bailey Road- Nature Notes- Summer Jay- USA
12.Kusum- Ancient Mono Lake in California, USA
13.Elaine- K&E Photography- Cold & Sunny- Ontario Canada
14.Freda- Day One Photography- Nature Notes- Ontario, Canada
15.Donna@ Gardens Eye View-A Last Gasp In the Garden- NY, US
16.Aktuella bilder-A Stroll in Norrsundet- Sweden
17.Ranu Chakraborty- Pink Cloud- Nature Notes- Bird- India
18.Lotus Leaf- Garden Tropics- The Letter R-India
19.Jeff Fisher’s Ecobirder- Snowy Owl Visitor- Minnesota, USA
20.Libby- Nature Notes – the Burr Oak!- USA
21.Jill- Unlike flies, I do not taste things with my feet.- USA
22.Terri- Coloring Outside the Lines- Click- Arkansas, USA
23.EG Camera Girl- Lake Simcoe/ Nature Notes- Ontario, Canada
24.Nora’s Island Rambles-” R” Week- Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
25.Fergiemoto’s Creativity Aroused– T” Challenge: Threat Display- USA
26.Juliet- Crafty Green Poet- Rivers of Autumn Leaves- Scotland
27.Crafty Gardener- Miscanthus- Ontario, Canada
28.Amit Agarwal-Safarnaamaa..-…homecoming!-India

24 thoughts on “Nature Notes (#184)~Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese~Hal Borland

  1. the curled leaf nest is amazing!
    I adore your patience with the tiniest of creatures

    I was out back Sunday morn putting out food for the birds and squirrels and a butterfly kept hovering around me
    I thought it was a leaf at first but is was a butterfly
    no one believed me since it’s November and we never see them
    but I know you do
    and I think the butterfly was saying hi to me


    • Dianne..I have patience with children and wildlife..not for some adults… I wonder what kind of butterfly it was..It was saying “hi” and “thank you” for all you do for wildlife.. I am sure the wildlife in your area is going to have a tough winter as will the some of the humans…terrible mess…


  2. Have no fear, there is no way I could manage to clean up my whole yard. I only play with a few parts that may become garden in the spring. I’ve been trying to clean up my house … I have to clean up my father’s apartment. Not enjoying that last one, but at least some friends are helping.


  3. Hi Michelle, I love the swallowtail butterfly among the pink flowers, what a pretty photo! It’s been unusually warm, too, this weekend, after the storm and snow–then, temperatures in the 60’s. I was able to go for a nice nature walk. Have a great rest of the week! 🙂


  4. I love those pictures of the green frog and the pupa. Very good read indeed! Yeah, having a backyard is such a good thing. I enjoyed it all my childhood. Now, in an apartment which I hardly live in doesn’t give me any opportunity for gardening. I am happy with frequently visiting chipmunks and mynahs and rare sites of a kestrel on the trees around.


  5. Your blog is wonderful ! I was raised on a hobby farm and love nature . I also have a passion and love for nature photography and just love being out there photographing mostly in our country village back yard. We live with forest and a river all around us and get wonderful nature all year round !


  6. Yes, we do more harm unintentionally when we ‘clean up’ the garden. Recently I visited a mangrove forest in Goa which was full of leaf litter. The forest guard said that many small creatures live under it.


  7. Here in Oregon the frogs seem to go back and forth — silent for a few days, then out in force (my daughter reports this during the winter…on a spring-like day, she’ll hear them and then when it turns cold they must hibernate sort of for a few days).


  8. Pingback: “T” Challenge: Threat Display | Creativity Aroused

  9. Hi, Michelle, thank you for letting me know that was a mallard in my photo. I thought it was a goose! I’ll update my post. To answer your question, yes, there were a lot of geese in the pond and in flight. If you look closely in the first photo, a goose is swimming by … take care 🙂


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