Wandering out the Cross Dike Trail you could not help to notice that spider webs were everywhere. Draped in morning dew, they sparkled like diamond necklaces. The spiders were equal opportunity weavers, even the lowly tick trefoil was bejeweled.
With the onset of fall, the population of dragonflies has been greatly reduced. The reddish Meadowhawks are the perfect complement to the earth tone pallet of fall. I have been noticing more damselflies. The dragonflies that persist are now much larger.
Most of the flowering plants have turned to seed. The few splashes of floral color are like small paint splatters that were not cleaned up after the summer's painting. Down in the shade of the cattails I saw this chicory plant blooming. The insect was a bonus.
Turtles were not quite as prolific, but I encountered several during the day. This tiny baby snapping turtle was crossing the dike trail along the lower impoundment. When it encountered me, it wasn't sure how to react and just froze until I retreated to a safe distance. Along the observation deck several painted turtles were sunning themselves. One appears to have caught the "planking" craze. I wondered what his plan was to get back down.
More ducks have been visiting the refuge. Wild ducks are skittish so they are often found hiding and feeding among the aquatic vegetation of the impoundments. Occassionally you will observe them closer to shore...until they realize you are watching them. The best observations are as they take off and land.
While waiting for more ducks to arrive I was lucky to observe these Great Blue Herons fighting over a fish. One had caught this large fish and the other flew over to get his fair share of the food. The fisherman was able to scare away the thief and focus his energy on exactly how he was going to swallow that fish.
Will all the wet weather fungi and mushrooms of all types are prolific, especially in the woods. Here are a few more species that I haven't shared before or are better photographs.