Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oakwood in Fall

It seems like it's been raining for weeks. It was the coldest September on record. If nothing else, the cool dampness greened up the moss on the path, the signature feature of the garden. The last of the Fall migrating warblers have filtered through, to be replaced the last couple of days with flocks of White-throated Sparrows and a handful of Least Flycatchers. After the hard freeze we had, it has to be hard making a living catching small gnats and mosquitoes. Today I saw the first Juncos, Arctic visitors that winter down here, basking in our Minnesota sunshine. As always, all things are relative. Now that the leaves are falling for real the local birds, Chickadees, Cardinals, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers have a lot of nervous energy. It's like they think they should be doing something, but don't know what it is. Weather changes always seem to agitate them. They fly around peeping and making continual runs to the feeders burning off energy, practicing for Winter. Since I posted the owl house pictures, the Barred Owl has generally made himself scarce. I've seen him occasionally during daylight moving through, trying to shake his escort of Crows and Jays, but we haven't heard any calls at night. At this point I don't think I can consider him "our owl". I'm still optimistic.

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