Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seasoned - Late-Summer Notes

Just down the hill from Lightspring Glen
The Green Corn Moon has reigned serenely these past few nights, her silver radiance shimmering down on us from dusk till dawn. Last week's Perseid Meteor shower, August's other celestial show, fortunately happened enough ahead of the full moon that those who rose in the morning's wee hours got a good show (so I'm told!).

It's been a fabulous wildflower season. For the last few weeks Queen of the Meadow has been reigning in ditches and fields' damp edges accompanied by the sister-royalty of Queen Anne's Lace. And in shadier places, orange and yellow jewelweed has been incredibly lush, especially here at Lightspring Glen. Its use as an instant antidote to mosquito bites is something I've little need of since their numbers are blessedly low here.

Perhaps it was July's heat and dryness that kept me from these observational writings. Truth to tell, a blog or two occasionally rattled around in my thoughts, especially one to capture the delights of my bird neighbors. So, a few belated bird-notes... 

Perhaps due to a cooler than normal June, nesting season stretched longer than the previous two summers. Once again the enchantment of the thrushes--oven birds, hermit and wood thrushes--filled the woods with exquisite songs for long weeks. I'm always a little sad when at last they fall quiet, though they've earned their rest.

For much of July I was captivated by the song sparrows and juncos who both chose nesting spots on and beside the front porch. Just a few feet apart, they came and went in easy bird-neighborliness. My job was keeping track of Tiger Lily, the younger cat, who tried scaling the porch column a time or two. Angus seemed to take little notice and even took naps on the porch in full view of the juncos who seemed to know that he wasn't a threat. Cat / bird dynamics sorted themselves out just fine ultimately, and as far as I know the three junco fledglings and the unknown number of sparrow young all got off into the world just fine.

August is essentially bird-vacation time when fledglings gain their full independence and their hard-working parents no longer need to hustle raising them. Now the adults are molting and resting up for migration. I'm pleased to catch glimpses of some of them when I'm out in the woods. Bird chorus has been replaced by the more subtle insect chorus, a pleasant, constant background hum 'round the clock. The one bright spot, literally, is the huge thistle I let grow next to the vegetable garden. As I knew it would, it's become a magnet for gold finches whose twittering delight in it livens up that end of the yard. And while it's a bit too woodsy for swallows here, whenever I pass a farm in my travels, I'm treated to the sight of them filling the air with their graceful ballet. Soon they'll be gathering in larger flocks and starting off South. 

So somewhat complete with my avian tribute and happy enough with it, it's time to post this and wander off to see if there are still any black berries out behind the barn. It's been a good season for them too!

The juncos just a day or two before they fledged.

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