As the weather cools down (thank goodness) the first tints of autumn are beginning to appear and many leaves are starting to look tired. We have a large bank of mixed dogwoods on the southern edge of the garden and it is full of juvenile Song Sparrows, Purple Finches, House Finches all searching for insects and then topping off their appetites on the feeders we maintain. Young Cardinals and Blue Jays aso make their presence felt – the Blue Jays in particular with their harsh end of summer calls.
Song Sparrows are garden regulars from their return in early spring through to autumn but House and Purple Finches have not been so regularly seen before this year – previously small numbers of HOFIs have been around intermittently but the PUFIs used to just pass though and do their nesting and raising of young further to the north. The shape of years to come, an odd effect of climate change or just an add result of this year being cooler and wetter than normal?
Earlier in the week (28th) we had excellent passage of early migrating birds, almost all homing in on the small header pool to our waterfall. Started with a Black and White Warbler in the pool, a Black-throated Green Warbler in the birches, three Baltimore Orioles in the pond and then Warbling and Blue-headed Vireos. A bit later saw the passage of American Redstarts and a Tennessee Warbler plus a Winter Wren … all accompanied by the resident and travelling American Robins and early one evening an immature Chestnut-sided Warbler. The next day these were topped off by brief views of a Cape May Warbler and a couple of Blackpoll Warblers. Some of these birds were photographed, but as they mostly visited in low light of morning or evening they are not all show-quality photographs though they suffice as useful record shots. A Carolina Wren put in a brief appearance one day and there are always Red-eyed Vireos in the trees.
By the end of the week we were aware that suddenly the PUFIs were fewer in number and then suddenly the feeders started to be swarmed by considerable numbers of LBJs (that’s Little Brown Jobs for non-birders) such as more SOSP and HOFI juveniles but no PUFIs.
The high volume Blue Jay gang are much in evidence and very noisy, as is usual at this time of year. We have a flock of young and scruffy Northern Cardinals, all raised locally, flying around and a mid-morning foray of mixed adult and juvenile Cedar Waxwings in the Rowan tree snacking on berries who, once they had moved on, were replaced by a group of young American Robins who proceeded to squabble over bathing rights in the top pool. Oh yes, and a Pileated Woodpecker at the peanut feeder – haven’t seen one of those for a while. Grackles are starting to gather and will be away south before too long.
Somewhat less welcome wildlife in the garden one evening was a cloud of midges … only mentioned here because we got a photograph of them. A triumph for technology, at least.
The end of the week produced the first morning below 10C for a very long time.
The “rock bed” at dusk – Japanese Anemones, PG Hydrangea, Dogwoods … all sorts of plants