Mesic Mixed Forest -- Seasonal Highlights

Spring Highlights

  • Fresh pale green of new emerging leaves

  • White blooms of flowering dogwood, common serviceberry, mayapple, Solomon’s plume, hairy sweet-cicely, mapleleaf viburnum

  • Yellow blooms of tuliptree

  • Occasional maroon blooms of pawpaw

  • Greenish to purple hoods of Jack-in-the-pulpit

  • Resident and migratory birds: eastern phoebe, eastern wood-pewee, wood thrush (listen for flute-like song), ovenbird (often on the forest floor), screech owl, barred owls, woodpeckers (such as red-bellied, pileated, downy, and hairy)

  • Male white-tailed deer beginning their annual re-growth of bony antlers cloaked in velvet-covered skin

  • Scentless, spotted newborn fawns, left to sleep unattended on the forest floor, while the doe forages for food, returning every few hours to nurse

Summer Highlights

  • Shadiest time of year in the forest and easiest time to identify plants by leaves

  • Ferns fully unfurled

  • Tiny white blooms of broadleaf enchanter’s-nightshade

  • Odd wine-colored blooms (late summer and fall) of beechdrops

  • Occasional red berries of common serviceberry

  • Birds most active at dawn and dusk; but listen for the red-eyed vireo’s song in the afternoon when most birds are quiet

  • Gray squirrels (some black in color!) scrambling around the trees or forest floor, pausing frequently to feed Ecobit: When Black is Only Gray

  • One or two spotted fawns trailing mother white-tailed deer, nibbling on leaves and nursing

Autumn Highlights

  • Nuts (hard mast)—oak acorns, beechnuts, hickory nuts

  • Colorful leaves—yellow American beech and tuliptree; red, purple and brown hues of oaks, red maple, and flowering dogwood; dark green Christmas fern and American holly

  • Ribbony yellow blooms of American witch-hazel

  • White blooms of white wood-aster

  • Dark berries of mapleleaf viburnum

  • Red berries of Jack-in-the-pulpit, flowering dogwood, American holly

  • White wooly strings of the “Boogie-Woogie Aphid” on beech twigs (some years abundant) Ecobit: The Boogie Woogie Aphid

  • Migratory birds heading south, feeding on the fruits of wild grapes, flowering dogwood and mapleleaf viburnum

  • Male white-tailed deer scraping off the drying, peeling velvety antler covering on small trees or shrubs—revealing bone-white antlers, ready for mock battles of the mating season

Winter Highlights

  • Tan leaves clinging to American beech trees amid spear-shaped, long buds of next season’s leaves

  • Prickly dark green leaves of American holly, accented with red berries (popular with winter resident birds, and returning migrant birds in late winter/early spring)

  • Brown and gray hues of twigs and bark with interesting textures

  • Sword-like tan seeds of tuliptree

  • Onion-shaped, fat flower buds of flowering dogwood tree

  • Winter resident birds such as dark-eyed junco, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, American robin, hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker

  • Male white-tailed deer sporting antlers—or not (shedding them in late winter)