Sunday, October 17, 2010

First, Last, Always

Challenges always present themselves, and the one I find hardest to meet among nature observations is catching the last Hummingbird of summer, or the first returning Junco. You just never know. One day hummers are here, and you can assume you'll see them the next, but Poof! No more hummingbirds. This year it happened, I believe, the last week of September—a very late departure for hummingbirds.

A bit more than a week later, on October 9, I saw this little guy poking around in the weeds. He brought friends. If he wasn't the first Junco, he was definitely in the first returning wave.

It's mid-October now, and we've yet to have our first real frost. A cold spell last weekend brought rain and temps as low as the 40s (3-5C), but most days have been warm and sunny and nights rarely below 50 degrees (10C) in recent weeks. Without a frost, we can't even call it Indian Summer. Brought the house plants in last weekend; the geraniums are still outside enjoying 80-degree days (25C).

Others are "always with us, late and soon." First in the morning, last in the afternoon, or until it runs dry. This time of year, the Scrub Jays empty the sunflower feeder as fast as I can fill it.

Are they hungry? Not particularly... but they recognize opportunity and find it hard to pass up. First one, then two...

Four years ago, when this blog was new and posting perhaps more regular, I offered this little treasure about our ubiquitous Scrub Jays. I still think limericks have great potential as tools for environmental education! (Haven't been able to persuade anyone else, though!)

In case you missed it back then, here's our backyard version of

The Circle of Life

A garrulous bird is the Scrub Jay
He sits and he cackles all day
   For sunflower seeds
   To meet his winter needs
Then hides them wherever he may.

From sunflower seeds put away
By Scrub Jays against a cold day
   And never
   My yard is now
With sunflower plants gone astray.

If Scrub Jays could plan while they play
I’m sure they’d be happy to say
   These sunflowers reseeding
   Are going for feeding
A new crop of Scrub Jays next May.
      —S.L. White

1 comment:

Watcher said...

I have a soft spot for Scrub Jays. Nice post (and poem!)