This Week at Hilton Pond: “Confusing Fall . . . Composites”

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Posted on 4 October 2011 by Bill Hilton Jr.

Birders have their "confusing fall warblers" and wildflower watchers their DYCs, which we prefer to call "Confusing Fall . . . Composites." The latest installment of "This Week at Hilton Pond" attempts to identify some of the baffling assortment of similar-looking asters and sunflowers that crop up along roadsides each autumn. To view our colorful up-close images of fall flora, please visit the photo essay for 15-30 Sep 2011 at

While there, don't forget to scroll down for a list of birds banded or recaptured during the period; a miscellaneous nature note; and acknowledgement for several donors who've been kind enough to support Hilton Pond Center and Operation RubyThroat in recent weeks.

The deadline to sign up for our November 2011 hummingbird expedition to Costa Rica is just three weeks away. There are a few slots left for what is certain to be an enjoyable and unforgettable Neotropical experience. (Links to info for this trip--and the ones on tap for 2012--follow this week's photo essay.)

Happy Nature Watching!


Figure 1. Bidens polylepis, the Bearded Tickseed Sunflower (above), is just one of the many, many, many confusing composite flowers that appear on roadsides and in open places each autumn.

Bill Hilton Jr. is an award-winning educator-naturalist and executive director of non-profit Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History near York, South Carolina USA, where he has banded more than 56,000 birds since 1982. He is the only scientist studying Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) on their wintering grounds in Central America. Check out his Web sites for Hilton Pond Center at and “Operation RubyThroat: the Hummingbird Project” at

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