Colorfest is one of the biggest annual events at Bernheim Forest and Arboretum every year. Saturday was chill and gray, but that didn't stop the crowds who came for the party and to see the raptors from Raptor Rehabilitation of KY. Sunday dawned bright and clear, and despite the shorter hours, the crowds seemed even bigger than before. When I entered the gates today, the road simply crawled with lines of cars of people trying to find a parking space. I pulled into the nearby Garden Pavilion, figuring that I could walk the distance faster than creeping along the road in my car! And I had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the colors behind the Big Meadow. The sun also brought out an absolute invasion of ladybugs, flying into your mouth and down your shirt all afternoon.
As indicated by the name "Arboretum," Bernheim preserves the native tree species, but also brings in others requiring a name tag to identify. Near the education building, several tupelo, or black gum trees, have been planted. They sport some of the brightest red leaves and small berries on the property. And they make a wonderful backdrop for photographing raptors.
By late October, most of the fall flowers are past their peak, but a large bed of toad lilies bloomed along the reflecting pool at the education building. I understand they come in different colors, but I like these purple spotted ones the best.
Most parents want to have new photos of their children taken regularly for perfect pictures to send the family, dressing them in their best, and fussing with that one piece of hair that wants to stick up the wrong way. We are the same way with our birds at Raptor Rehab, so Saturday was a great chance to get colorful yet natural looking backgrounds for bird photos. Gracie Mae kept putting her ear tufts down flat, and we did everything but take a comb to her head to get them to stand up.
We always tell the children that the Screech Owl colors help them blend into the background of the trees where they perch. If you blink, you might miss red-morph Tidwell in these leaves.
AJ, one of our Barn Owls, is a very curious fellow, who just wanted to go back to his perch for a nap in the shade as the day went on and on and on...
It will only take one more round of rain and wind to blow these fall leaves to the ground, and then we must spend more time chopping them with the mower or raking them up altogether. I'm lucky, and my husband enjoys this sort of work. When they are gone, though, I can still come back and remember the fresh crisp odor of freshly fallen leaves and the orange so bright you need sunglasses to look at them.