The Hunt is On: Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods mushroom

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Autumn has arrived and signs of the new season are everywhere. Gusts of wind send black walnuts and acorns plummeting earthward. Goldenrod and asters entice honeybees to their final foraging missions. Tree leaves are transforming from summery shades of green to fiery crimsons, brilliant yellows, and warm almost-glowing golds. They are all great signs of summer’s end but I’m most excited about a certain fantastic fall fungi. Are you ready to hunt the Chicken of the Woods? I am.

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Cormorants in Oakland County and Beyond

Cormorant on beach with outspread wings

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Double-crested Cormorants are one of the most fascinating and peculiar-looking birds of Oakland County. Their sightings occur most often in May during northward migrations and again in early September as they head south from their colonies located along the shores of our Great Lakes. Many that are now passing through are likely to have departed colonies located on or near Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island Archipelago in northwest Lower Michigan.

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What Nature is Saying!

A Great Egret perched on a thin, leafless tree in a wetland

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

I am a nemophilist. That’s someone who is fond of forests; a haunter of the woods. I celebrate woodlands in all seasons, but especially look forward to the spectacular forest colors of autumn, frosted pumpkins, and adventuresome hikes as nature’s last hurrah before winter arrives. Today, however, as the end of August draws near, I’m sharing nature’s subtle signals that summer is slowly fading. Increased sightings of Great Egrets, dazzling beauties of our healthy wooded wetlands, are one of nature’s first signs that summer is fading.

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Butterfly Weed: A Gift of Nature!

A monarch caterpillar crawls along butterfly weed blossoms

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Spectacular! That word alone accurately describes the eye-catching beauty of Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), our only native milkweed with showy orange blossoms. But don’t let the words “butterfly” or “weed” fool you. Butterfly Weed is a non-discriminating, pollinator-friendly plant, a fact confirmed by its attractiveness to bumblebees and honey bees. Even Ruby-throated hummingbirds visit its nectar-rich blossoms. Just a weed? Certainly not!

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