Sunday, October 7, 2012

Clear Signs From The North

This week  signs of change in the garden have been clear.  The goldenrod and milkweed have gone to seed.   Butterflies and hummingbirds now gone  have been replaced with flocks of twittering birds.  A flock of starlings changing its undulating shape over a neighboring cornfield caught my eye.  My trips to the garden sent an explosion of  goldfinches and chickadees to the safety of the trees from the sunflowers where they were feasting on seeds.  They returned to their feeding as soon as the coast was clear.  For several mornings we  watched a fairly large bird sit atop the tallest beanpole in the garden.  At first we thought it was a kestrel, but close examination through the  binoculars revealed  a dark gray back and head, a rusty red chest with white spots, yellow feet and a red eye.  From the size of the bird Ed and I decided it must be a sharp shinned hawk.

Today the signs became stronger.  The small birds seem to have deserted the garden.  The distant sound of geese filled the air, but at first all we could see was the bottom of dark clouds.  The geese were flying  above them.  Later in the day more flocks of geese formed large Vs in the sky so high that they were hard to see.  It seems early in the year for serious migration.   Some geese remain on the river until the ice begins to form.  But today many were heading south.

This year some of the trees are beautifully colored, others are still green and many like this one have lost their leaves completely.  Where this has happened the leaves on the ground give off the unmistakable fragrance of late fall.   This tree that really got my attention.  Its leaves are totally gone while a nearby sugar maple still holds its green leaves.

When I finished my long chilly tractor ride, before I came in the house, I cut a few flowers from the garden.  I chose a sprig of butterfly bush, a moon flower bud, some of Ed's lovely mums, a sprig of heliotrope and the flowering jasmine starbright.  From the signs I'm getting, tomorrow might be too late!

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