Monthly phenology reports about the Kinnickinnic River and its watershed are brought to life by
Jane Taylor, an Environmental Conservation graduate from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.
Milkweed Seed Pod
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a Milkweed seedpod looks like? November is the perfect time of year to explore the complexities of the inter-workings of the seed. Attached to the silky strands are the actual seeds, which float through the air as a means of dispersal. These plants produce their seeds in late summer, and by November, most of them will have dried out and split open. As temperatures drop, these seeds will go through a stratification process that allows them to germinate. Kelly Creek has an abundant amount of Milkweed, which provides vital habitat for pollinator species.
When walking through the well-maintained footpaths of Kelly Creek Preserve this month, you may catch a glimpse of something zipping through the air out of the corner of your eye! This would be the short-horned grasshopper. Many grasshoppers do not reach their full size until late summer or early fall, making this the perfect time to spot these vocal insects. Short-horned grasshoppers create sound by rubbing their hind legs and front wings together. If you want to hear the symphony of sound from these tiny musicians, you’ll want to plan your visit in the daytime, when short-horned grasshoppers are most active.
American Red Squirrel
The American red squirrel can be seen scurrying about Kelly Creek Preserve, preparing for the cold months ahead. Red squirrels stay active throughout the winter months, so November is a vital time for them to collect food and create a warm nest. Red squirrels are omnivores and survive off of nuts, berries, insects, mushrooms, and even small birds! This squirrel, in particular, seemed to be nesting in the hole of this large tree. Red squirrels are known to be territorial creatures, and it is not uncommon to hear the chattering of two red squirrels disputing over territories.