For many people, Labor Day signifies the end of summer. However, for others (like myself in the naturalist department), it marks the unofficial first day of fall. There are many things to love about fall, especially at Honey Creek Resort. The mornings become crisp and cool. Fog often hangs over Lake Rathbun making everything look soft and smudged. The green landscape of summer is transformed to a rich pallet of golds, reds, and oranges. As the sun rises over the lake, you can grab a bike and pedal out to one of the many scenic overlooks along the Savannah Ridge Trail. If early morning adventures aren’t your style, you can greet the morning with yoga on the Great Lawn, or curl up with a warm coffee in a cozy Adirondack chair and take in all the quiet beauty of the early morning.
Early morning is a great time see wildlife throughout Honey Creek. You may glimpse majestic eagles riding the air currents over the lake, or the many resident whitetail deer frolicking in the prairie. Early mornings are also a great time to go bird-watching along Honey Creek’s many nature trails. As you wind along the Lakeshore Trail you may see shorebirds such as great blue herons and cattle egrets, you may also see water fowl such as cormorants or swans as they prepare to migrate south for the winter. If you choose to wander the trails in the evening hours you may hear the enchanting call of “who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” This distinct call belongs to a barred owl, one of three species of owl found year round at Honey Creek.
If you take the nature trail across the prairie you can’t help but notice the sea of brilliant goldenrod, purple asters, white boneset, and red sumac. Take a closer look and you will see another animal preparing for migration: monarch butterflies. Each year monarch butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles to the oyamel fir trees in Mexico to hibernate. Each September through early October the Naturalist team at Honey Creek Resort tags and tracks monarchs on this amazing migration. Guests are invited to participate in several hikes throughout the week to learn and assist in the annual tagging.
The blooming prairie also provides pollen and nectar for Honey Creek’s busiest residents: honey bees. The bees spend all day foraging across the prairie so they can make enough honey to sustain them over through the winter, and if we are lucky, enough for us harvest some as well. This fall the honey harvest will take place on September 29th. The Naturalist team will harvest the frames of honey from the hives, take it back to the Nature Center and extract it. Everyone is invited to drop in to watch the process and take home a sample of delicious Honey Creek honey.
Summer is so often fast paced and gone before we know it. September gives us a chance to slow down and appreciate all the beauty nature has to offer this time of year. From our beautiful prairie to our busy bees, autumn is the perfect time to fall in love with Honey Creek Resort.