September ushers in autumn with cooler temperatures and crisp air. Signs of the changing season are all around – apple trees heavy with fruit, ripened acorns and hickory nuts on the ground and the occasional blast of fall color in the landscape.
Here are some things to look and listen for during the month:
- Eastern screech owls reestablishing their feeding territories and driving away now self-sufficient off-spring.
- Ospreys, hawks, and shorebirds starting their migrations. Thousands of birds will pass through the area during this month. Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth, is a great place to view the activity.
- Migrating snowy egrets flying along the coast at dusk.
- The “confusing fall plumage” of warblers from the north woods on their way south.
- Monarch butterflies as they migrate to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.
- A handful of crickets still chirping in the evening. Listen for them while spending the night at Turkey Swamp Park's Family Campground.
- Squirrels scurrying about collecting acorns and hickory nuts for the colder weather. Look for them in Huber Woods Park, Middletown.
- Diamondback terrapin eggs begin hatching.
Plants - some blooming, some changing:
- Seaside goldenrod is flowering and attracting wasps, bees, monarch butterflies and other insects.
- Salt marshes are turning golden brown at Fisherman's Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan.
- Blackgum trees turning deep red – one of the earliest trees to change color.
- Ocean water is warm enough to support hurricanes, in fact September is the height of hurricane season.
- The full moon is called the Harvest Moon.
- Bluefish and weakfish are at the greatest abundance in the bay early in the month
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