Sunday, August 21, 2016

The clues continue #phenology

A few hummingbirds have been to the nectar feeder today, after the downy woodpeckers left. (I'm repeating the daily hummingbird observations in an attempt to be able to note when they're no longer showing up or, possibly some day soon, that there's a marked increase in numbers from migrants passing through.)

Northern Flicker, female or immature?
Northern Flicker, female or immature?
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm still trying to confirm the identification of what I think is a Northern Flicker, except that it doesn't appear to have a red bar at the nape of its neck. It's showing up at the feeder on a regular basis. That would be the feeder I filled this morning with about a gallon of sunflower seeds which by mid-day was about 80% gone. There seems to be noticeably more goldfinches than usual this year. Maybe I shouldn't have left those thistle plants standing?

purple tumble-grass seedheads flying
purple tumble-grass seedheads flying
Photo by J. Harrington

Today's breezes brought this years first observation of purple tumble grass seedheads sailing through the air. I only noticed a few, but it's another sign the seasons are tilting from Summer to Autumn. International Falls got down to 39 last night/this morning.

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.

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