20 • 11 • 2012

Month of frost brings back memories of October’s abundant colours

November or the so-called month of frost is a time when the autumn of yellow and brown leaves fades away in forests. This year, autumn colours lack shades of red. To some extent, this is compensated by the fruits of briar roses, barberries and bittersweet nightshades. Meanwhile, red, soft and ripe cranberries glow in mossy swamps where berry pickers have not trodden yet. They have already felt the first touch of frost.


Do you remember October and its diverse weather conditions – warm, cold and rainy with wet snow, frost and sunbeams? The first snowflakes indicated the arrival of early winter, but the sun returned. During the warm days of end-October you could hear katydids and several grasshopper species chirring. Waxwings arrived unusually early, calling each other in their melancholic voices. Due to the first signs of winter in their homeland, these birds rushed to Latvia, their wintering grounds. It was unbelievable to hear grasshoppers and waxwings simultaneously at the end of October.  


Due to sunny weather conditions, there was no shortage of many active dipterans – flies, flower flies, louse flies, mosquitoes – and just as many ants, wasps and other insect species. Some species of dragonflies were particularly active, indulging in romantic trysts and dying shortly after, as every year. Grasshoppers and locusts also departed this world after accomplishing their main task – mating and reproduction.


However, October passed and gave way to November – rainy and quite warm. The branches of most trees are bare. Strong winds have picked up their leaves, at least those that are not soaking wet or lying on the ground. Truth be told, there are also trees that do not rush to cast aside their dead leaves, most noticeably young oaks. Ferns have turned brown and nearly fallen to the ground, some caulescent plants are also lying on the ground. Forest scenery is becoming more monotone, with a grey pallor.