City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

October 6, 2016

October 4th

Filed under: Colors, Gambel's Oak, Maple tree, Sounds, Weather — canopus56 @ 12:33 pm

Fallen Leaves

 

4:30 p.m. For several days, overnight temperatures have fallen into the 40s and now 30s, and two nights, it has rained overnight. The effect on the Gambel’s oaks and insects is profound.

Gambel’s oaks, in just one or two days, have significantly turned. Some are still largely green; others largely yellow. Between those two color extremes, the variance is large. One grove near picnic site 11 has all of its leaves turned yellow, but other oaks at the southwest end of the meadow have turned only ten or twenty-percent. Others have turned seventy or eighty percent. The cold has also affected the maples. On the south face of the canyon at mile 1.3, the dominant tree is the maple, and a few days ago the face was a dusky red-orange from the maples’ leaves. The south face has been that color since September 13th, but now, in large patches of maples, all the leaves have fallen, again almost overnight. When looking south from the road and over the patches of green Gambel’s oaks or yellow turned oaks, the color in the distance is the often a slate grey of the leafless maples. Walking between milepost 1.5 and mile 1.7, one is treated to all the combinations of a tan grass foreground, a yellow or green middle-ground, and a red or grey background.

Like after the passing of the previous fall storm, today is a day of recovery for insects. The loud chorus of crickets heard on September 29 is gone, and perhaps five or ten hardy individuals still sing. On October 3rd, the ground was still drying and a brisk wind blew across the meadow at mile 1.3. Then the crickets were silent. Standing in the middle of the meadow and without the crickets, loudest sound was the dry grass rustling under the brisk wind.

When walking through this meadow, it is common to flush out small sparrows that either nest or feed amongst the tall grass. But these sparrows are fast, and I have been unable to get a detailed view of them, sufficient to make an identification.

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