Hi, it’s Aengus Gillespie, back with another blog post from Normans Kill Preserves.
Fall has almost completed its stay at the Normans Kill preserve. While many associate this time of year with barrenness and a lack of vegetation and food for wildlife, this is not exactly the case. While many food sources have dwindled, some still remain plentiful.
One piece of obvious evidence of the bounty of the season can be found along the rivers banks of the Normanskill. I found a couple of large midden piles of hickory nutshells. Hickory nuts provide a food source for a wide variety of animals ranging from raccoons to squirrels. The littering of shells is evidence of recent activity by these animals as they hurry to eat what they can before winter.
Another remaining fruit is from the invasive barberry evergreen shrub. The shrub and its small red berries serve as food for a variety of moths and butterflies. Some varieties are edible and are used in middle eastern cuisine. Multiple varieties of which grow within the preserve. Barberries may also serve as hiding places for ticks, so don’t get too close.
The next time you are out on the trails, see if you can spot evidence of a late fall feast! You can share your findings with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.