Last night, the rain ended and the wind picked up, bringing down a few leaves, but only a few. This morning it is clear and beautiful, so I thought I'd show you a photo I took this morning as I was leaving Roundtop and driving to work. The mountain in the photo is the next ridge to the north, with my neighbor's farm in the foreground. Despite the wind, the trees on the farm and the mountains are both still covered with leaves.
It's chilly here--in fact I might well have snow tomorrow night or at least a snow/rain mix. Perhaps the weight of snow will finally be enough to drop the leaves, though they normally are all down on their own, without benefit of snow, by November 1.
I have come to think that higher than normal nighttime low temperatures throughout the fall are the culprit in the leaves overstaying their welcome. October's average temperature was nearly 7 degrees above normal, but much of that higher result came because the day's low temperature averaged more than 9 degrees above normal.
I expect this season's long-lasting leaves to cause some atypical changes in the forest around me, but I don't expect to fully see what those changes will be until next spring or perhaps even summer. Since the leaves won't have as long to decay as usual, I expect the changes that result will center around that. I can anticipate that spring growth might be affected. Perhaps the species mix of the plants will be different as a result. That could affect food availability for the summer birds.
Theoretically, I might say that the differences might be interesting to observe and document, though I don't expect it to be interesting in a good way. I also think I can see a winter project in the works, which will be to further hone my plant ID skills and try to better inventory what's here now and what's here in the spring. Paying attention to what's going on is the first step in understanding it.