I sure hope everyone has been enjoying this wonderful autumn season. I dearly love autumn …. I just wish it would last a little longer. Like spring, it seems to be gone in a flash. Our tree colors are pretty much finished already and at least half of the leaves have now fallen. We’ve had flurries twice so far but snow is nowhere near staying yet, thankfully.
Since I missed a September posting (my busiest season and time got away from me, sorry!), I’ll go back to my final summer sightings. The photo below was one of my last Hummingbird sightings of the season. I saw another little female the day after I took this photo and that was it … they disappeared for the year. I had a great season for the Monarda (Bee Balm) so the Hummers were VERY happy with my flowerbeds this summer. In fact, I saw the birds in the flowerbeds way more than I saw them at my two feeders. It was my best summer ever for Hummingbirds. At one point, I had 6 at a time in the gardens with me!
I also had quite a few Northern Flickers in my neighbourhood throughout the summer. An adult male (like the one below) would come and land on the hydro pole just outside of my back gate and from there, he would call and call and call. Toward the end of the summer, I started hearing a juvenile answering his calls from further down the street. I never did see the young ones but this fellow came back in September for what seemed like a final farewell.
After the bulk of the summer visitors left, Grackles showed up. For a while, I had 50+ at a time in the backyard. They make all kinds of mess and noise but I really don’t mind them. I like blackbirds of all kinds.
One day, I glanced out of my patio doors and saw ……….. footprints …… on the glass! No body imprint; in fact: no body! No other sign of collision, just footprints. Judging by the size, they are Grackle footprints. This tickled my funny bone for some reason!
My resident family of Crows has been visiting the yard regularly since spring. At one point in September, I had 7 of them in the yard: 3 on the platform feeder, 2 in the trees behind (where this fellow below is) and 2 more on the ground underneath. For such big birds, they are jumpier than any other birds in the yard but so entertaining to watch!
After being absent almost all summer long, Blue Jays have returned to my feeders. Their visits started out with just one or two, now there are at least six. I remember one day last winter, I had a high count of ten Blue Jays for just one day. Curious to see if that will happen again. I’ll be putting peanuts out on the platform feeder soon so we stand a chance. 🙂
As the typical sign of Autumn, I watched flock after flock of Canada Geese fly over my yard while I was busy out there putting the gardens to bed for the season. We have a golf course nearby and I can always hear the Geese and Sandhill Cranes take off from there.
In the photo below is the golf course resident family of Sandhill Cranes. Every year, they fly across town to the ‘old high school track’ (the school has been torn down but the track is still there). The center of the track (for track & field) is full of clover and the Cranes apparently love it at the end of summer. This year, I managed to catch an immature Crane imitating its parent. The family consisted of two adults and two young. Sadly, within a week of taking this photo, one of the youngsters flew up into a power line and was electrocuted. 🙁
I was thrilled a few weeks ago when my husband came home from work and told me that he had just seen a Swan on a lake on the edge of town. He took me out there to see and at first, all I could see was what looked like a piece of styrofoam floating around. But then two ducks flew by and the ‘foam’ lifted its head up: the lovely Trumpeter Swan had been having a nap!
American Pipits came through the area this fall. I only saw a small handful of them in my yard but we saw quite a few along the highways in the region. I only ever see them during fall migration, never in the spring. Not sure why that is.
With Project FeederWatch just around the corner, I was thrilled last week to find two Ruffed Grouse in the backyard once again. I get such a kick out of how they leave the yard each year in April and return every October. The most we’ve ever had is five at once but our average is two.
Another returnee is my favourite: the Gray Jay. Two of them showed up in the yard last week, just after the Grouse. The fellow below was caught in some heavy rain and spent some time in my pine tree preening and drying off.
I have only seen a couple of Warblers so far this fall but a few Sparrow varieties have been around.
As I mentioned above, Project FeederWatch is beginning soon. This year, the season runs from November 12’16 to April 7’17. I am working with Cornell Lab of Ornithology right now to get their webcam in my yard up and running for the season. I’ll have the link to that for you in my November posting.
Until then, thanks for reading!