Mixed Oak Heath Forest-- Seasonal Highlights

Spring Highlights

  • A pink or coral tinge to some oak leaves as they are just emerging

  • Showy white blooms of common serviceberry shrubs (early spring) and flowering dogwood trees (mid-spring before their leaves are out)

  • Long clusters of tiny white flowers of black cherry (late spring)

  • Pinkish to red blooms of hillside blueberry, pink azalea, and red maple—early bloomers

  • Insects pollinating little flowers on blackgum trees and hillside blueberry shrubs

  • Birds preying on insects

  • Hermit thrush and ovenbird running along dead logs on forest floor

  • Small animals eating winged seeds of red maple

Summer Highlights

  • Pinkish to red blooms of black huckleberry

  • Inconspicuous stalks of ½-inch greenish to purplish blooms of cranefly orchid

  • Tiny white blooms of striped prince's-pine and partridgeberry

  • Dark berries of hillside blueberry, black huckleberry, and common serviceberry shrubs

  • Long clusters of tiny bitter black fruits of black cherry (late summer)

  • Insect pollinators on low flowers of striped prince's-pine

  • Birds eating fruit of common serviceberry, blueberries and huckleberries

Autumn Highlights

  • Scarlet leaves of huckleberries at knee height, deep purple-red leaves of mapleleaf viburnum just above them

  • Brilliant yellow mitten-shaped leaves of sassafras

  • Bright orange-red leaves of blackgum

  • White blooms of white wood-aster

  • Red berries of partridgeberry and flowering dogwood

  • Migratory birds feeding on berry-like fruits of blackgum, flowering dogwood, American holly

  • Birds, squirrels and others feeding from “sap wells” made in tree trunks by yellow-bellied sapsucker

  • Raccoons, red fox, white-tailed deer, and others feasting on acorns, partridgeberry, beechnuts (from American beech)

Winter Highlights

  • Dull green (top side) and purple (underside) leaf of cranefly orchid, low to the ground

  • Acorns of variable shapes and sizes

  • Bark—platey gray of white oak; striped pattern of northern red oak; deep furrows of chestnut oak

  • Male yellow-bellied sapsucker and hermit thrush (males of these species more likely to winter here)

  • White-tailed deer browsing on twigs of small oaks and sassafras, blueberry and huckleberry bushes

  • Woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatch, deer, squirrels, raccoons, red fox, and other small mammals feeding on acorns and American beechnuts