Marking the Middle of Autumn

Female Ruby-Throated HummingbirdThrough the trees a couple of honks announced a gaggle of Canada geese approaching from the north. In less than a minute, maybe 20 individuals in a signature V floated just over the stand of oak trees, wings beating in almost perfect unison. They likely would land in a field of corn stubble, at least near a stream, if not in the pond across from the Mount St. Mary’s University campus a few miles down the road.

For the past few days, Blue Jays here been gathering, like caravaners of old, preparing to head south, rather than west, for the winter. Apparently, though, the new caravaners are mostly young birds. Older couples – blue jays, by the way, are monogamous – tend to stay around here for the winter. That’s OK. The jays love the peanuts we toss out to the squirrels, and we love watching as they drop down to the back deck, grab a nut, and make off to feast in peace.

Continue reading Marking the Middle of Autumn

Birds, favorite TV shows, make way for Fall

A hawk launches on dinnerThe early morning thermometer registers 69F. The days have been in the high 80s to mid-90s, amazingly hot for September. The night approaches when we will dream of days as warm as we now wish them cool, when the whole-house fan sucks cool air in the bedroom window and pushes the late afternoon swelter out the roof vent.

A reader invited me to try to photograph a pair of owls that had become regular visitors to his backyard. As luck would have it, other things took control of my evenings. I have not recently even heard owls in the vicinity. Likely they have departed for other climes, as have many other birds that have colored the view from my studio at the edge of the woods.

Continue reading Birds, favorite TV shows, make way for Fall