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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:26 AM   #1
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Default Late Summer Ripening

Been out sharing nature discovery with schoolchildren a lot this past week, and so much less time for photography. But have had time to notice, and sometimes to photo, a few signs of the ripening that comes as summer ends.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:27 AM   #2
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Both the hard mast (nuts) and the soft mast (fruits) crop have been excellent this year. Here are some almost-ripe Red Oak acorns, and some very ripe Spicebush berries.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:29 AM   #3
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And a good mast crop is good news for the hungry "critters" who are fattening up for the approaching cool season.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:31 AM   #4
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Of course, it's not just the mammals that are hungry in late summer. Monarch caterpillars are getting fat on milkweed...
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:32 AM   #5
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Butterflies are feasting on the abundant nectar (Tiger Swallowtail on Thistle, Variegated Fritillary on Spearmint).
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:35 AM   #6
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And the food chain continues... Here is a Black Shouldered Spinyleg who just caught a Northern Pearly eye. and then another B.S. Spinyleg that became an Orb-Weaver's breakfast!
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:36 AM   #7
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Here's another cold-blooded late summer friend, enjoying the afternoon warmth, and waiting for a snack near a field mouse nest.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:39 AM   #8
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Late summer is still rich in blooming things. We see several species of Wild Sunflower (not sure which species this one is!).

Also one of my favorite late season blooms is Wild Clematis. I've struggled to get any decent photos - they always look (& smell!) so much better out in the fields! Would really appreciate your opinion on this shot - it's the best I've managed so far, but am still not really happy with it. Any tips gratefully accepted!
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 6:40 AM   #9
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Looking forward to more days afield as summer is waning. Hope your days are also warm with beauty & discovery!

Thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions, critique...
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 4:54 PM   #10
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Great series Mole!
I really like the old house but, I'd have to clone out the sign...
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