Leaves in the area seemed to comply as many maples and more displayed their colors.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was on the case and had already issued its first weekly fall foliage report on September 28.
For much of western Pennsylvania, the graphic showed that the leaves were just starting to change.
Several graphics posted on the internet predicted that Venango County would see peak color around the third week in October.
According to the September 28 report, the district manager in Cornplanter State Forest (representing Warren, Crawford, and Erie counties) said last week’s warm, sunny days and cooler nights initiated noticeable color changes in northwestern Pennsylvania. … Northcentral Region foresters in Elk State Forest said northeastern Elk and southeastern McKean counties are approaching best color. ...”
The Butler County service forester (Clear Creek State Forest District) said the “leaves have started to turn in the region. … With such a fast and beautiful start, October should be a very pretty time for foliage in this area.
A nice drive now is U.S. 322 from the Brookville area to Meadville. …”
According to the National Weather Service, the total precipitation accumulation for Franklin for 2023 so far is at 31.97 inches, down from the normal of 36.02. The total rain for September added up to 2.12 inches which was a decrease from the normal of 3.94 inches.
The US drought monitor only listed a very slight sliver of eastern Venango County as abnormally dry.
Most of the area river levels were listed as normal for this time of year according to the United States Geological Survey’s site except for the gauge on French Creek at Utica which registered below normal.
“It should come as no surprise that the final numbers were warmer and much drier than normal!," the post said.
The office also posted about how dry September was for various cities.
“Wondering how dry September 2023 was relative to September precipitation climatology?
• Pittsburgh, PA: 51st driest
• Wheeling, WV: 4th driest
• Morgantown, WV: 7th driest
• New Philadelphia, OH: 5th driest
• Zanesville, OH: 6th driest
• DuBois, PA: 27th driest.”
I tried to look up the information for Franklin, but all that was listed were the August numbers so far.
“Regardless of whether you are partial to brilliant oranges, dazzling yellows, or deep, rich reds, Pennsylvania’s fall season is always a showstopper,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary for Tourism, with the Department of Community and Economic Development in a press release issued Sept. 21.
As the season changed, so did some of the winged friends that visited my feeders.
As if on que, the last hummingbird of the season for me left three days before the official end of summer.
Once the wild asters and goldenrod bloomed, the bumblebees left the sugar water in the hummingbird feeders for a real source of nectar.
The yellow jackets, however, stayed and were joined by some hornets.
There were a good number of fritillaries this year, but the monarchs were few and far between. I also saw a fair number of spicebush swallowtails this butterfly season.
The vegetable garden did well this summer despite a slow start due to a dry May. Most folks I spoke to had the same report of decent harvests. Some said they had some of the largest vegetables this year that they had ever had.
However, the growing season appeared to be drawing to a close. The site www.almanac.com listed Oct. 17 as the first fall frost for Franklin.