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Take an autumn stroll at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

submitted by Pam Newitt, Interpretive Naturalist, BHWP

Fall at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is an amazing time of year.

Trees, birds, flowers and animals are getting ready for winter, making this lively season of preparation the perfect time to take a stroll and see all that this special place has to offer visitors.

To begin your colorful autumn walk, let’s start at Penn’s Woods and admire the golden yellow of the hickories, bright orange of the sugar maples and blazing red of the scarlet oaks.

You may see migrating birds that stop at the Preserve to fuel up on their favorite seeds and insects.

As your walk continues through Penn’s Woods, make sure to stop by the pond.

Look along the edge for frogs, fat and ready to spend the winter under the mud, or catch a glimpse of an aquatic turtle basking in autumn sun.

A quick stroll down the driveway and through the gate opens up an entirely new experience for you.

Meander into our glorious meadow, and you will find yourself intoxicated by the beauty and diversity of the fall blooming goldenrods and asters.

While you are there, admire the unusual seedpods of our milkweeds and rose mallows.

The milkweed may be done nourishing our cherished monarch caterpillars, but the dried pods are home to the milkweed beetle, which spend the winter nestled inside the pods.

At the James Moore Pavilion, take a glance at the sycamore in the middle of the meadow and you may be treated to a glimpse of one of our resident red-tailed hawks roosting on a tree branch and looking for prey.

When you’re ready, head back to the Visitor Center along Presidents’ Drive.

Keep an eye out for abandoned woodpecker holes in dead trees. Though no longer used by the woodpeckers, they can now be a fall and winter home for southern flying squirrels, bats, or if large enough, raccoons and opossum.

Before you leave, stop by the Visitor Center where you can browse the lovely Twinleaf Book & Gift Shop for books and t-shirts, or visit the auditorium where an enormous wall of windows overlooks the forest canopy below offering an unrestricted view of several feeders.