Due to a heat index exceeding 90 degrees, the Millennium Trail and Elm Lick Trail will remain closed until further notice.

Fall Color Update – October 19, 2023

By Amy Joseph Landon

Bernheim’s fall color season is just getting started. Moderate rain and cooler temperatures have slowed the leaf change and drop, allowing colors to slowly develop.

milkweed seedpod

Sugar maples and shagbark hickories are now beaming with brilliant yellows and oranges along the edges. Ash trees that have rebounded from the emerald ash borer decline are showing incredible purple hues. Some oaks display a bit of color, but most remain green holdouts in the interior forest. Sumacs have continued to keep deep crimson purples, and fruits exhibit maroon and red colors and awesome textures. Goldenrods are mostly past peak, but their colors have evolved to golden hues blending into the prairie’s multiple shades of green, gold, brown. Asters are covered by nectar seeking bumble bees, honeybees, and wasps while displaying profusions of white and purple flowers. Milkweeds have split their pods and are now spreading their white feathery seeds throughout the fields, as high winds sometimes take them on far distant journeys.

Athena, the golden eagle Bernheim tracks, is likely to be leaving Canada very soon for her journey back to Bernheim.

Migratory species continue their travels to and from Bernheim, with northern nesting birds such as golden eagles now headed south. Migratory songbirds that nested in Bernheim this summer have mostly flown south, and monarch butterflies continue to pass through on through way to spend winter in Mexico. Our best fall colors are yet to come. We expect to peak right around Halloween, with the best colors interior forest colors occurring the first week of November leading up to Colorfest on November 4-5 at Bernheim.

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