The Magic of Night – A Nocturnal Creature Adventure in Rochester Hills

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Darkness: for some it’s a fearful time. A simple walk in the woods in the waning days of October stirs over active imaginations and creates imagery of ferocious fanged creatures with sharp claws and nasty temperament. Illusions of reality run wild. For others, the darkness of autumn is a soothing and magical time of nature when the woods are alive with nocturnal creatures and the songs of owls, the whispering of the winds, and perhaps the distant yip of coyotes.

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Milkweed Bugs of October Meadows

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

October is the season of the Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), a colorful but lesser known bug of Oakland County’s milkweed-rich meadows, fields and trailsides. They are spectacularly beautiful creatures that lure the attention of nature hungry little kids, nature savvy adults and university entomologists. However unless one walks slowly amidst the milkweed plants, and looks for them, they often go unnoticed, even with their brilliant colors. Don’t let them go unnoticed. Continue reading

See the Best of Fall on an Oakland County Trail

As the leaves transition from shades of green to amber and crimson, and the air takes on the crisp edge of autumn, there is no better time to venture along one of Oakland County’s many scenic trails.

Wilder Side | Walk Slowly, Stop Often, and Listen

Navigate your next trail adventure with the help of the Oakland County Trail Viewer: an interactive map developed by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. Each trail is marked by brown lines, while green icons represent parks. When a trail is selected, the map allows you to reference both its length and elevation. When users click on a green park icon, its name, size, website, and other helpful information appear.

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October Splendor, Adventure, Awareness and Safety

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The splendor of October swept into Oakland County on schedule with traces of frost on the first day of the month. Hours of daylight are shortening, but opportunities for trailside adventure and colorful kayaking adventures are increasing. It’s a month of cider-making, corn mazes and pumpkin hunting. October is the time to watch geese high overhead, listen to trumpeting of Sandhill Cranes, and celebrate Eastern Bluebirds beneath a clear blue sky. Set out an autumn bird bath, and it just may lure these beautiful birds, and a House Finch or two, as quickly as late season wildflowers lure honey bees. The days of October are in a word, glorious for all that love nature’s way and the hundreds of miles of trails that enrich our county and increase accessibility to our woodlands, wildlands and parks. Continue reading

A SWIFT NIGHT OUT: Flying Cigars over Farmington

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are masters of the sky. These enigmatic smudge-gray colored aerial artists are sometimes referred to as “Flying Cigars” because of their appearance in flight. They are almost always airborne, unless sleeping. Unlike most bird species, you will never see a Chimney Swift perched on a branch, or standing on the ground. Their evolutionary path led to sleek wings and fantastic flight skills, but also left them the inability to perch on a branch or even stand like a song bird on the ground. When a Chimney Swift needs to descend from the sky it uses its grappling hook-like toes to cling to the vertical interiors of hollow trees or interior of chimneys. Thus the name Chimney Swift, a bird that was once known as the American Swift.

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