Thursday, July 7, 2016

Seasons hop, skip & jump #phenology

According to the Wisconsin Phenology calendar, the Fall shorebird migration is starting. I saw that bit of information this morning on my Twitter feed (@JohnHthePoet). My immediate reaction was "No, wait! I'm not ready!" (for Autumn) It's mid-Summer, the 40 dog days started just a few days ago. Then I remembered I'm not a shorebird and don't have to fly 750 or 1,000 or 1,500 miles or so. I relaxed a bit.

No doubt due to my years as a duck and goose hunter, I associate migration with Autumn and Spring. This got reinforced when I lived back East because striped bass migrations to southern waters occur in October, the same time waterfowl were migrating. It's reassuring to be reminded that Nature's calendar of seasonal events often includes lots of overlaps and doesn't run on our 24 hour, 7 day week. I often end up reminding myself that remembering yesterday's joys or anticipating tomorrow's pleasures may distract me from a focus on now, from "being present" and experiencing what's happening around me. On the other hand, memories and "looking forward to's" are often more pleasant than when they actually occur.

Yesterday, I was startled when one of the "pebbles" in the drive hopped away from a dog's curious nose. The pebble was one of the tiniest toads I've ever seen. Tadpoles do morph but it takes awhile to grow up.

poult-less turkey hen, mid-Summer Phot
poult-less turkey hen, mid-Summer
Photo by J. Harrington

This morning one of our local hen turkeys, without poults, was scratching at the sunflower seeds beneath the feeder. I'm not sure if she didn't breed or somehow lost her clutch. SiSi the dog and I startled her and she departed in a running, semi-jumping, hop, skip huff as I was letting SiSi out. This particular hen doesn't appear to be moulting yet, another Summer season change that's coming up.

SiSi failed to notice the bird, probably because she was, for a change, anticipating having her own moment, one with a focus other than food. Speaking of food and feeders, it's time for me to head off and get another bag of sunflower seeds and, maybe, some fortified hummingbird nectar to replace the plain sugar water. They'll need lots of energy for their migration when the time comes.


Temperature in the upper seventies, a bit of a breeze. Great
cumulus clouds pass slowly through the summer sky like
parade floats. And the slender grasses gather round you,
pressing forward, with exaggerated deference, whispering,
eager to catch a glimpse. It's your party after all. And it couldn't
be more perfect. Yet there's a nagging thought: you don't really
deserve all this attention, and that come October, there will be
a price to pay.  

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