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.