November Nature Notes
November Nature Notes:
It’s been very nice to see the leaves have stuck it out through the drought. High winds didn’t allow the leaves to stay on for many of the colorful trees, but the hardwoods are giving a nice contrast to Iowa’s landscape.
The next full moon we will experience is the Beaver Moon. This will be the month when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges. Hopefully, they have stored up sufficient food sources for the upcoming winter. This year, the November’s Beaver Moon will be accompanied by a total lunar eclipse. During a lunar eclipse, the Moon, Sun, and Earth stand in a line with the Earth in the middle, causing our planet’s shadow to be cast onto the Moon. This gives the full Moon a reddish, coppery hue, as well as the nickname “Blood Moon.” November 7-8, 2022.
Most all our birds that need to migrate, have moved on. Some waterfowl will be continuing to move through with the cold fronts. Canada geese are being seen frequently flying from their feeding grounds to open water. With hope, Trumpeter swans will be flying through. Juncos, cedar waxwings, and wintering bluebirds will be found in large groups within the dense shrubbery. More and more of the more “glamorous” sparrows will be seen, White-throated, White-crowned, Fox sparrow, Harris’, etc. There is still plenty of berries and seeds throughout, so our wintering birds that we enjoy at our bird feeders will not depend on a shortage of food. That may change all too soon.
Wintering Bald eagles will be trickling in this month. Keep watch in open corn fields and woodland edge hunting for prey. The waters will still be open, so fishing will be good. Once the winter turns harsher and the waters begin to freeze, larger numbers of eagles will be congregating below the larger dams of reservoirs. Horn’s Ferry Bridge below Lake Red Rock dam is an impressive area to view wintering residents. You may capture sightings of our resident adult eagles carrying sticks to begin the nest building and/or repairs preparing for nesting in February. Migrating Red-tailed hawks, Rough-legged hawks, Northern harriers, Short-eared owls, Long-eared owls, Saw-whet owls, and other possible occasional winter visitors, such as the Snowy owl may be moving southward for the winter from the Tundra. This is the time of year that you may encounter higher numbers of Red-tailed hawks along the roadways, hunting the medians and roadside ditches. Remember, birds and animals will conserve as much energy as they can to survive our winters.
Deer rut continues into the month of November. Bucks and does are commonly found out and about at all times of the day. Rut continues until the 3rd week of November or so. With most of the fields being harvested, they generally move to cover closer to trees, river corridors, brushy, dense areas. Please be observant, please be safe. Many of these areas are very close to roadways. November 6 will be daylight savings time and this change can heighten travel during their movement times.
On sunny days, some insects will still get out to gather sun and nutrients. You may still see a butterfly or two on the warm days, Meadow katydids, stinkbugs, wooly bear caterpillars, lacewings, flies, moths and possibly some unique wasps. An occasional frog or snake may be located on the very warm days gathering up as much sun as possible.
Opossums, groundhogs, raccoons, and skunks will be out feeding on warm days. You may see them scurrying to and from brush piles, culverts, and dense shrubby areas as they don’t want to be exposed to predators and interruptions. Even though these animals’ senses are best at night, sometimes hunger and shelter determines their daytime hours. On occasion a mole may be found running on top of the ground. These animals dwell underground and eat invertebrates every few hours to survive. If they run into rocky earth, the ground is too dry, or the food availability is low, you may find them scurrying for cover as they become very vulnerable to flying and four-legged predators.
As always, it’s a great time of year to get outside! A breath of fresh air does the mind and body good. More later…