Thursday, October 15, 2009

Signs of Fall

The seasons seemed to come and go so fast this year, or perhaps that is a sign I am getting older. Missouri summers are usually so hot and humid that the only relief is found in air conditioning. This summer was an exception to that rule, there were only a handful of days that reached above 90 degrees. I admit to being very disappointed by this fact. I love the heat, sunshine and long days. September rolled in with much cooler temperatures than normal. October arrived with temperatures that were more like November. I love the fall crisp air and beautiful colors, but I seem to enjoy them more when they arrive after a hot summer. There didn't seem to be much transition this year.

These pictures were all taken in the past few weeks, and are so reminiscent of fall, that I had to post them to share. The first two were taken in Rockport, MO. This little town is just south of the Iowa border, and is now home to a small wind farm that is supplying the town with natural energy.

These three windmills were tucked away in a valley between two bluffs, they looked so pretty against the bright blue sky. 

The trees pictured here are aptly  named the "Kissing Trees". They are located at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City,NE. They have a wonderful walking trail there, and a fifty foot tree house with a view of the forest floor. Leaning over the edge is sure to give you a mild case of vertigo.

Nothing says fall like a visit to the pumpkin patch. Arbor Day Farm has one of the biggest I've ever visited. We walked for quite some time until we found just the right one. Then we had to carry that heavy monster all the way back to the main building. We took turns lugging it, very proud of our find. If you look at this picture, ours is the one right in the center, now let me tell you this thing easily weighed 25 or 30 pounds. Now that may not sound like much, but factor in its circular shape and it makes for a heavy load indeed.

On our way home from Nebraska we made a detour through Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful wetland that attracts many species of birds. I've volunteered for them on numerous occasions and it continues to be one of my favorite places to visit. On this particular visit there were a few ducks, and pelicans visiting the area. Later in the season the Eagles will show up in great numbers, as will the snow geese. every year on the first weekend in December they host a special event called Eagle Days. It is not uncommon for hundreds of eagles to be present. It is truly a sight to see.

There were still a few Great Blue Herons braving the cooler temperatures and hanging close to the shore. I even seen one on a muskrat mound that had his head pulled in close to his body and his feathers were all puffed out warding off the cold (pictured below).

American Coots are one of my favorite "ducks". Their black coloring and white bill make them a stand out on any pond or lake. Many people think they are nasty, dirty little birds and don't have much use for them. I think I just tend to be a fan of the animals I see as the underdogs. I love armadillos, opossums, bats, bugs, and coots. 

The pelicans were hanging pretty far out in the water making it difficult to photograph them. They are such interesting birds.

If you are ever in North West Missouri this is a must for you to visit. You won't be disappointed. The scenery is beautiful, there are walking trails, birds, deer, and many other things to see. 

And probably the biggest sign that Fall has arrived is the return of the dreaded Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetle! These non-native species have usurped our own lovely native species and have taken over with such vim and vigor that it is difficult to even find a native species these days. Wherever you live, I hope you enjoy this autumn season, and are able to get outside and explore.


  1. Shelly what can I say but that I love this post. Every single picture and the text. You are so right about the ShoMe state's summer and fall this year. The pending Asian Beetle onslaught freaks me out!! I would rather deal with the Recluse.

  2. Thank u so much. The showme state never lacks for things to photograph. I'm not sure I would rather deal with a recluse, but I do hate to put up with so many asian beetles. they are everywhere all fall.

  3. I like your take on the coots. They are important just like all the other more colorful animals. Your pictures were beautiful! :)

  4. LOL, Julia you have no idea how much grief I endure from my significant other. He thinks I've taken leave of my senses because I love the oddball animals. The other night we had a young possum show up on the front porch, I went out and picked it up by the tail and brought it into the house, you can imagine the reception that received...LOL

  5. Just moved here. When are all these ladybugs going away? We can't even go outside today, being swarmed.

  6. I had to laugh at your predicament Ja-Co. You might as well plan on putting up with them for awhile. Last night when I got home after work my house was covered in the little devils. It just seems in the fall they pose the biggest issue. As soon as cold weather sets in they begin converging in large numbers seeking shelter for the winter. They hide away on the cold, cloudy days, but as soon as we get a warm day, look out! here they come! Sometime around the end of November they will hibernate and shouldn't be a problem. In the spring they will disperse and shouldn't be a problem all summer.

  7. Wonderful pictures. I need to visit the area one of these days. And I'm with you on those beetles- they were biting something fierce today! 'Possum in the house?! Must have been a hissy-fit from that thing :)

  8. You should definitely visit Missouri. It is a wonderful photographers dream, especially in Southern Missouri. The possum was young, probably this past winters birth. It was on our porch eating cat food, my son scared it and laid over on its side and "played dead" He picked it up and brought it to me, because he knows I love them. I took it from him and brought it into the living room to show my husband and daughter. Needless to say my husband isn't as big of fan as I am when it comes to these little critters. He continued to play dead for quite awhile. I put him back outside and about 15 minutes later he was gone.