Thursday, August 4, 2016

Early August report #phenology

Earlier today I translocated chipmunk number 2016-8. We're halfway to 2014's total of 16. Last year there were fewer than that. We'll see how 2016 finishes. "Where do they all come from?" is a strictly rhetorical question, sort of like the line in Elinore Rigby "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?" Unlike New England, there aren't any stone walls to speak of around here. If all the lonely chipmunks would settle for living in wood piles or fallen, hollow trees and stop chewing holes in the patio screens, setting up a home in the downspout extension, or creating underground burrows that undermine the front stoop, I'd put away the live trap. I'm not holding my breath until that happens.

three turkey hens with poults
three turkey hens with poults
Photo by J. Harrington

Meanwhile, out in our little sand plain patch of prairie, the Round-headed Bush Clover is thinking about blooming, goldenrod is in flower and I'm still waiting for the monarchs to discover our milkweed. This morning's field trip to collect some sumac seed pods got a rain delay but I've noticed more sumac leaves are turning red and yellow, an indication we can hope for an eventual end to the hot, humid, very humid, weather we're "enjoying." And, another reason for hope, the three turkey hens I've seen wandering poultless for several weeks finally paraded through the back yard with the kids in tow and hung around long enough for me to grab a camera.

For the Chipmunk in My Yard

By Robert Gibb

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.