This Thanksgiving weekend was supposed to be devoted to important gardening, there being much to do in the fall not least of which is planting the garlic … but it’s a gloriously bright and sunny day and the arboretum was calling. It’s leaf-peeping season again and what else can a gardener do but gather up his camera and landscape lenses and set forth.

Indeed the trees were wonderful – and there is a gallery of photographs below to prove the point – but there were also a surprising richness of birds moving through the forest, mostly low down in the grasses and seed-bearing flower heads and so a leaf day was also a bird day which can’t be bad … but would have been better had I taken bird lenses along for the walk as well. Three species of laggardly migrating warblers and very accommodating Phoebe that stayed close enough for a photograph with an entirely inappropriate lens. Both sorts of Kinglets, three sparrow species and an unidentified buteo. Eighteen species in all.

Occasional chipmunks and way more red squirrels than grays – something which we feel has been more and more the case in the arboretum in recent years. Curious as to why this might be? Current theory is that climate change is increasing the food supply at the geographic interface between red and gray squirrels but the the reds are better able to exploit it and, being way more territorial and aggressive, are winning out.

Enough of this – here are the photographs. Click to enlarge.