Friday, September 16, 2005

September 16, 2005

This morning I awoke to the gentle sounds of three nearby great horned owls calling back and forth to each other. Two of the birds were very close to the cabin and my open window and close to each other as well. The third was only slightly farther away.

Yesterday’s reports from the eastern hawkwatches and forecasts for Saturday’s weather do not bode well for a good broad-winged hawk migration in eastern Pa. tomorrow. The more western Pa. sites might do okay tomorrow, but the New England sites still haven’t reported any “big days,” so I’m guessing the northern birds aren’t really “in the pipeline” to head south yet. I’m torn between going to Waggoner’s Gap and staying on Roundtop to watch. I likely won’t decide until the last minute—after tonight’s daily counts are in and after a last minute check of the weather. Sunday looks to be a good hawkwatching day for broadwings.

I just saw two migrating sharp-shinned from my office window at work, even though my window faces an interstate and is near an intersection with 3 other interstates. Although I’ve only been in this location about 6 weeks, I have been surprised at what I can see here and around the grounds. Across the interstate and behind the restaurants is a thin line of mature trees. Hardly a day goes by without a sighting of the local red-tailed hawk. The office grounds have a wild edge at the property line where butterflies are common. I’ve seen monarch butterflies migrating past the window, and swallowtails, sulfers and cabbage whites in the edge growth. My office bird list is small but growing.

Nature somehow manages to survive, many times, all around us in very non-natural settings. And yet many people simply don’t pay attention or notice much of anything that happens outside buildings. Yesterday, while sitting at lunch with several colleagues, one expressed amazement that two others of us knew what a mallard was. She thought they were just “ducks.” I thought everyone, from kindergartners on up, would know what a mallard was. I’m constantly amazed at how little often intelligent people know about the world outside.

The sky remained overcast last evening, so I had no opportunity to look for aurora borealis, though the preliminary report this morning is that the solar storm didn’t produce the widespread auroras that were hoped for.

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