Chestnut Oak Forests-- Seasonal Highlights

Spring Highlights

  • Pink to whitish blooms of pink azalea, hillside blueberry, mountain laurel (late spring)

  • White blooms of flowering dogwood

  • Nesting birds vocally setting up territories and attracting mates

  • Migratory birds arriving or heading north (look for them in early morning on the hilltops where the sun’s rays hit first, warming them and activating their insect prey)

  • White-chested, solitary red fox might be seen hunting rodents or insects. A male fox will hunt to feed his mate before and after she gives birth in spring.

Summer Highlights

  • Pink blooms of mountain laurel (early summer)

  • Pinkish to red blooms of black huckleberry

  • White blooms of striped prince's-pine (usually in two or threes), twin blooms of partridgeberry (early summer)

  • Dark berries of hillside blueberry and black huckleberry

  • Low-to-the-ground chestnut oak seedlings with their distinctively scalloped leaves

  • Female red fox might be seen, her coat looking scruffy from pulling out fur for spring nests. Pups may accompany parents outside the den. Dens are sometimes dug in the soil that clings to the roots of large fallen trees.

Autumn Highlights

  • White wood-aster in bloom

  • Brilliant orange and red leaves of blackgum

  • One-inch long acorns of the chestnut oak

  • Yellow blooms of American witch-hazel

  • Red berries of partridgeberry and flowering dogwood

  • Migratory birds passing through on their way south

  • Solitary foxes may be seen sunning themselves, foraging, or hunting. Red fox pups leave their parents in the fall.

Winter Highlights

  • Evergreen leaves and dark contorted stems of mountain laurel

  • Dark and deeply furrowed bark of chestnut oak

  • Green bare twigs of hillside blueberry

  • Open vistas that allow you to see the shape of the land, including rock outcrops

  • Perhaps a solitary fox hunting or foraging for acorns - look for tracks in snow