Fall foliage from a hawk’s-eye view

Posted 11/2/22

Most of us have seen the changing colors of fall during the past few weeks.

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Fall foliage from a hawk’s-eye view


Most of us have seen the changing colors of fall during the past few weeks. From the trees to bushes and plants, Mother Nature is putting on a colorful show. Even though it has been a drier-than-normal summer, with infestations of spongy moths in some areas, trees are producing some brilliant colors. 

When the colder weather of fall arrives, more chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color) is breaking down than is produced, and other compounds that are always present in leaves become more visible. A couple of examples are carotenoids, which give leaves their yellows and oranges, and anthocyanins, which we see in many species of maples during the fall.

Years ago, before the internet and Google Earth and other applications like it, some of my pilot friends who hunted used to go up in the late summer or early fall, before the leaves started to turn, and looked for wetland areas that were potentially good deer habitat. The leaves in the wetlands turned colors a little earlier than the rest of the trees, due to the wet soil of wetland habitats putting more stress on the trees. When fall arrived with its full colors, there wasn’t much of an excuse needed to get someone up in the air.

A hawk’s-eye view of fall foliage is a collection of all the warm fall colors from horizon to horizon, with rivers, lakes or mountains in between. It is a sight to see, and a sight that one never tires of seeing.

If you don’t want to mess with aircraft, there are plenty of overlooks in the area, such as the Tusten Mountain Trail, or the Bouchoux Trail up to Jensen’s Ledges (a more difficult hike) in Lordville, NY. Some of the images in this week’s column are close to Route 97 in New York; the Scenic Byway, with its riverside pull-offs, is a good trip without the flying or hiking.

fall, seasonal change, foliage


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