Fall Connection #15 – Fall Ends Soon – Earth and Sky Report

It may not seem like fall is coming to an end weatherwise, especially for those of us living in the southcentral part of the U.S. This week the highs are averaging in the mid-60s F, well above normal for this time of year. But if anything is certain, it’s that the weather will change. Stay tuned to your local weatherman!

Today’s posting marks the end of the Ecological calendar entries for 2012. Stay tuned for more of these after My Nature Blog enters its second year on December 12, 2012.
Expect some slight revisions, including the use of more fiction entries and more personalized accounts of nature experiences.

For now, here are a  some interesting items.

In the Sky:

Geminids – The Geminid meteor shower can produce around eighty meteors per hour at its maximum. Look for slow-moving streaks of light in clear skies after dark between December 6 and 18.

SaturnMoon – These two celestial bodies appear together on the morning of December 10.

VenusMoon – These two celestial bodies appear together on the morning of December 11.

MarsMoon – These two celestial bodies appear together on the evening of December 15.

On the Earth:

GaggledUp. Snow geese migrate in large groups of 100 to 1,000 birds. They leave Canada and head south to the Gulf of Mexico, flying up to 70 hours and 1,700 miles before resting.

FrugalHarvest. Fresno kangaroo rats, which also feed on greens and insects, create caches in the soil to store seeds for later consumption. They store less food than other species to prevent damp soil in their habitat from spoiling it.

HeartyHare. The black-tailed jackrabbit inhabits desert lands and overgrazed pastures in North America. It retains water from its food and can live on plants with low nutritional value. In autumn, as rain returns and the food supply increases, females frequently give birth to new litters. Baby jackrabbits are born with all their fur and their eyes wide open.

PreventativePika. The pika, related to rabbits and hares, lives above the timberline in North America and northern Asia. In auturmn, the furry-footed pika looks for green plants, which it dries and stores for the harsh months of winter.

WildBulb. Drummond’s onion, a wild onion indigenous to North America, prefers the cooler weather of autumn to the heat of summer. While its foliage dies back in summer, new shoots sprout in autumn and bloom in late winter and spring.

FungusPhases. Temperate forests witness a continual change in forest fungal communities. Such a change happens in the southeastern Appalachian Mountains, where tree roots host Cortinarius mushrooms in the fall. These appear in shades of red, tan and lavender.

(Credit goes to Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar for today’s information. www.ecocalendar.info.)

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