This is some of the best Hiking times of each year. Not just for the Fall colors we are so lucky to experience here in Michigan, but because of the many other things also taking place at this time of year.
For the critters and Birds that have not migrated for the upcoming Winter season, those that remain here for the cold and snowy months, the Fall season is a time of extreme activities. Storing food for the cold times, putting on fat for the lean food times, making and reinforcing a den or home for the winter months. All this adds up to intense activities.
Not only is this a great time for animal and Bird viewing, but it is also an excellent time to observe where the critters are eating and moving around at. This is important for the Spring and Summer months because when the trees and ground foliage has covered up much of everything, it is hard to track the critters or easily observe where they generally hang out.
By observing many critter dens and food sources at this more open woods time of year, it makes it so that a critters general home turf can be IDed. Yes……there are some differences in food patterns and travel from season to season. But like humans, many critters have the well used animal trails and grounds that they become used too, and will frequent through out the years.
So……in the middle of Summer, when everything is completely grown over, you can go to a particular area of the forest, stream edge or meadow, and know that there is a Woodchuck den there, or a Mink lare along the river. You may also know what is their most commonly traveled trail, in and out of the home den.
So critters that maybe right there in front of you, while you Hike in the Summer, but well hidden in the thick ground foliage, will now become easier for you to spot because you know they are there. You spotted their high levels of activities during these Fall months.
This truly works. I have done this for most of my life, and have gotten to the point of naming some of the more regularly spotted critters. 🙂 You may even get lucky enough to watch a single critter and den, turn into the family brood, and then observe the expansion of this species to the surrounding habitats. It is just another way to become part of the forest itself.