I found some more evidence of an early fall in the highlands of WV on the WV Birding forum:
There is no doubt that fall is on the way. As one drives along one
sees Sun Flowers, Golden Rods, Joe-Pye-weed, and New York Ironweed.
Driving on Route 250 to Elkins, the leaves are turning on top of Cheat.
Also on Route 28 to Greenbank the same is taking place.
With the full leaves it should be a beautiful color fall. However,
we had this last year and the color was disappointing. Not only that
but in one twenty-four hour period all the leaves fell. Perhaps it was
due to the amount of rain we had. We were in a drought the year before
and the color was beautiful. I know that leaves have a homeostatic
mechanism for regulating water but wonder if the amount of water we are
having overpowers it. Does this amount of water dilute the chemical
processes of pigment formation and, like grapes where dry conditions
concentrate the sugars, do dry conditions concentrate the pigments?
For the most part, the rivers have been low. This is surprising to
me considering the amount of rain that we have had. Someone said that
the "woods are full and this is holding the water."
I thought birding had slowed down but think that it is Ruth and I
who have slowed down. Sitting on our back porch this past week we saw a
Great Blue Heron through the fog flying up the East Fork of the
Greenbrier. This was a beautiful sight and wished I would have been an artist
in order to capture this scene. We see a Green Heron fly up stream in
the morning and back in the evening. We also were visited by a male
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, and Pine Siskin. We got a new
yard bird when a male Baltimore Oriole flew out of one of our cherry
trees. We always have lots of House Finches but have had several Purple
Finches as well. We just need to shake it off and get out for more
The Old Pike is open and the Durbin Rocket RR runs.
Ben and Ruth Poscover