Nature really has only two seasons in the Ozarks. One is growing season. The other is winter. Now the Ozarks is waiting to fall into winter.
Most plants still look green. Looking carefully there is a yellow cast hiding under that green. The few cold nights have turned some plants like the dogwoods to fall colors.
Wait a minute. Isn’t fall another season? It is for people. For plants it is still part of the growing season as they busily make seeds and store sugars and starches down in their roots for the coming winter.
Green chlorophyll doesn’t photosynthesize well in cooler temperatures so the anthocyanins take over. These come in colors other than green.
For turkeys, deer, squirrels and other such creatures the fall into winter means an abundance of seeds and nuts to gather. They don’t care about colors in the leaves, only in eating and hiding enough of this bounty to survive the winter.
The deer are putting on their dark brown winter coats. The raccoons are retiring up into the hills.
Birds are more mobile. Many of them are following the warmth south. One by one the hummingbird feeders are being cleaned and stored. Migrants are stopping by to stock up on sunflower seeds for extra energy giving us a chance to see some new birds.
The usual residents are ignoring the feeder as they load up on other delectables. This excepts the morning doves who leave standing room only on the feeder in the morning.
The turkey vultures are gathering and soaring in lazy circles as they drift south. The goldfinches have shed their gold feathers and are dull green now.
The winter visitors haven’t arrived yet. These are the juncos, various sparrows and titmice.
The days are getting short. The temperatures are warm all day and cool at night. All it will take is a good rain and the Ozarks will fall into winter.
Meander through the seasons in photographs in “My Ozark Home.”