This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve
A time for birds


What's in Bloom
Asters and goldenrods will fill the prairie with yellow and purple this month. On an early morning walk you’ll be rewarded with an array of colorful birds and their songs such as bluebirds and goldfinches as they feed on seed heads of sunflowers (Helianthus) and insects in the prairie. Also, listen for cedar waxwings that are arriving and feeding on Eastern red cedar and black gum berries. With all the yellow forbs in bloom it is a great time to practice your yellow composite identification.

Pick up a Missouri Wildflowers book in our Visitor Center to help you with your identification or attend our Tuesday Fall Wildflower Ramble or Saturday Wildflower Identification and Ecology programs. Soon you’ll know Texas green eyes (Berlandiera texana), willow-leafed sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius), and more by heart.

Featured Trail
Brush Creek Trail is a perfect trail for October. Park at Pinetum Lake and start up the gravel path that will take you past the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. This stretch is shaded and gives you a glimpse of the wildflower garden. As you continue along you will hike on the wooden bridge over Brush Creek or for the adventurous you can try the stepping stones. Hearing the soothing sound of the moving water is a great way relax and catch your breath. Next you will have an uphill climb and from here you’ll arrive at our tipi where you can look inside and get a feel for what it would be like to live inside a tipi. From here you will journey to the Trail House where restrooms, a water fountain, and the picnic pavilion are. This great spot for lunch overlooks a glade and lets you enjoy a rocky Ozark scene. Retrace your steps back to Pinetum Lake parking lot and you will have hiked approximately 2 miles. A fun fact about Brush Creek Trail is that we have the trees labeled for your enjoyment. You can test your knowledge as you hike and to get a closer look at our oldest and largest trees you can register for our upcoming Trees of Shaw Nature Reserve program.

Did You Know?
We will start to see more colors of fall foliage in the middle of October. In autumn, as the temperatures drop, some plants stop making chlorophyll. Instead, those plants break down chlorophyll into smaller molecules. As chlorophyll goes away, other pigments start to show their colors. Carotenoids are yellow and orange. Anthocyanins are red, pink, or purple colors. Anthocyanins also protect leaves from being eaten or getting sunburned. If there is more sunshine during the day, then more anthocyanins are created and leaves will appear more red.

Wildlife
The loud insect songs you are hearing this time of year are typically grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, and cicadas. You are hearing their courtship from morning until night. Male crickets and male and female katydids and grasshoppers (depending on the species) produce sound by rubbing their wings together. This method of producing sound is called stridulation, which comes from Latin, meaning "to make a harsh sound." Cicadas have the loudest song in the insect world. The adult male cicada possesses two ribbed membranes, called tymbals, one on each side of its first abdominal segment. By contracting the tymbal muscle, the cicada buckles the membrane inward producing a loud click. The two tymbals click alternately.

Update
In October our front gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Before visiting, make sure to check the weather and call our Visitor Center ahead of time at (314) 577-9555 with questions.

Don’t forget that members can register for early morning walking hours. Please click here to register for a code to visit between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Don't Miss the Final Weeks of Garden Party Lights!
Make the most of longer, cooler evenings and head to the Missouri Botanical Garden Thursday–Sunday nights for Garden Party Lights, open through October 19. Kids always get in for just $3! Click here to plan your visit!