The first think we notice is how long (and strange) our shadows are. In autumn and winter, our part of the world (the southern hemisphere) tilts away from the sun causing shorter days but also changing the angle of the sun.
Autumn is a good time to encourage children to observe the weather as it changes every day - from sun to rain, wind to stillness, storms to fine weather.
The classic autumn study of leaves changing colour doesn't have quite the same emphasis in New Zealand. In some countries, people think of autumn as a time when leaves turn yellow or red and fall to the ground.
|autumn leaves- Europe|
But some of our towns and gardens might have deciduous trees. My nature walk takes me through a park with a few exotic trees. It smells of sweet decay like a European autumn, the yellow leaves on the ground are turning brown.
There are plenty of signs of autumn in the green forest which we can look for and record. Berries hang on the trees and are sought after by birds such as the tui.
Some vines also have berries at this time of year. We find a smattering of orange kohia fruit (New Zealand passionfruit vine) on the trail, some smashed, some eaten.
|Berries on pate Schefflera digitata|
|A seed head forming on five-finger Pseudopanax arboreus|
|Kohia vines around a tawa tree|
If we are lucky, we might see animals too. In a stream, we are eight banded kokopu, some appear like ghostly shadows at the top of this photo.
|Ghostly banded kokopu|
Noisy tui are in the trees eating berries, while fantails flit around us after insects on the path.
|Piwakawaka (fantail) peeps out from the rangiora|
And on the ground and on rotten logs, strange fungi has appeared.
Places to go
This blog is based on recent nature walks at the beach, at Spicer Botanical Park in Porirua, The Brook Sanctuary in Nelson and Otari Wilton's Bush in Wellington.
A Rainbow of Fungi https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2015/06/a-rainbow-of-fungi-on-mid-year-walk.htmlOtari/Wilton's Bush https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/nature-walks-at-otari-wiltons-bush.html