Woolly Alder Aphids (Paraprociphilus tessellatus) were found late October in Hubbardston. Host plants are silver maple and alder. Fluffy-looking aphid colony groups, covered with white, waxy strands, are found on alder species summer through fall. The colony contains several generations and reproduction is asexual; only some winged-generation insects from the colony will migrate to maples and lay over-wintering eggs on the tree bark.
The rest of the alder colony, with many adult-stage aphids, will overwinter in tightly-clustered, wool-covered aphid colonies as seen in the photos. Several generations may develop on alder, accompanied by production of large amounts of white waxy material.
Jim Morelly has been camera-trapping wildlife in the Quabbin region and captured this Black Bear (Ursus americanus ). The animal appears to have plenty of body fat and to be in good condition as winter approaches.
Tom Pirro captured this image of a sub-adult Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) at Quabbin Gate 35 in mid-November. It was spotted again at Gate 37 a week later. Occasionally Golden Eagles, which breed in the far west and north of New England, choose to overwinter in the Quabbin region.
White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)moved into several bird nestboxes at High Ridge Wildlife Management Areas in Westminster/Gardner this fall. As volunteers were cleaning boxes, they left intact mouse nests with critters present. The area is a natural location for mice, and they're an important part of the diet of the carnivorous mammals and birds of prey that use High Ridge WMA. Nests will be removed in early spring.
Capable of overwintering as hatchlings in colder places, these young Common Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) found conditions on October 6th--warm and sunny-- to be perfect for departing their nest and moving to a nearby pond. A passerby moved them out of a road in Hardwick.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (below)is encountered on many fall woodland hikes, although the flowers are so subtle that they are easily overlooked. Native plant enthusiasts might consider planting these woody shrubs in the yard or garden, thereby extending the flowering ornamental season.
A baby American Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus) rests at the shallow edge of a Hardwick pond in early October.
Muddy Brook Wildlife Management Area in Hardwick is undergoing ecological restoration efforts to encourage the return of a lost habitat and the declining species it supports. It showed off some fall colors in early October.
Brian Klassanos found this White-lined Sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) at Muddy Brook WMA on October 7th.