In the photo above, we're looking off the massive bluffs of Hach-Otis State Nature Preserve. Fall color was nearing peak. I only regret that it was a rainy, overcast day. A bright blue sky day would have made the leaf color sizzle, but one takes what one gets.
If you would like a suggestion for a last hurrah fall field trip, I'd suggest Shawnee this weekend. The leaf color should be outstanding, and as you shall see if you forge on with this post, there are other interesting things to observe.
Colorful Sugar Maple leaves brighten the ground.
To pursue Buck Moths, you've got to head afield late, after most moths are done for the year. They begin flying in mid-October or thereabouts, and can be found into November.
Buck Moths do have the good manners to fly during the day, which makes finding them fairly easy. Slowly cruising the forest roads of Shawnee is probably the easiest way to find them. Wait until you spot a moth winging by, park, and start chasing. Problem is, most of the moths that you see will be males in rabid pursuit of females. They rarely stop in their relentless tracking of pheromones, and all too often shoot by and off into the woods never to be seen again.
Here we can see the exceptionally well-furred abdomen of a male Buck Moth. We know it is a male by the bright orange tassel adorning the tip of the abdomen. When captured, the moth will wag and curl the abdomen, and that behavior along with the bright colors may be intimidating to potential predators.
It isn't every fall that I can get out and pursue big Buck Moths, but fall isn't quite the same without such a Lepidopteran hunt. Thanks to Grace for helping to wrangle the moths, and for participating in the hunt.