The waning days of autumn are a bittersweet time.

Oak trees are stubbornly holding onto their brown leaves, but most trees are bare, now. Passing between paw paw trees on the beaver pond trail, I notice their spindly trunks with thin side branches, so different from other trees.

 

 

 

 

There’s still some color in the landscape, though. Understory shrubs like Spicebush are putting on a good show along the shore of the beaver pond.

 

In one of the bare trees, I spy what looks like a holiday garland wrapped around the trunk. It’s Oriental Bittersweet, an imported vine that escaped into the wild from long-ago gardens.

 

 

 

At the entrance to the park’s campground, I spot a flock of Tufted Titmice, Dark-eyed Juncos and Eastern Bluebirds foraged in trees and grass beside the road for food.

 

 

Female Eastern Bluebird

 

But, one of the birds was not thinking of food. As I watched, a female bluebirds spent several minutes investigating a tree cavity as if checking its suitability for raising baby bluebirds. Of course, spring is far away, but it never hurts to plan ahead.

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