Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disappearances


Mornings are now so dark that I can no longer take photos before I leave for work. So "today’s" photo was actually taken last evening. The scene is one I’ve photographed before. I enjoy taking the same photo in different months. My goal is to have a good photo of favorites scenes for each month of the year.

We are all conditioned to think of the year as having four seasons, but even within the seasons, the scenes look different, though some more than others. A photograph taken in both June and August reminds me just how different the same scene will look in the "same" season. Even winter looks different from month to month, if only in the amount of snow that is or isn’t on the ground. So far, I could be doing better with this project. I have a really nice fall photo of this scene, and a decent spring one, so I still have a ways to go.

If I ever happened to forget that the forest is now leaning towards fall, the birdlife around me reminds me. The pewees, towhees and kingbirds are still here, though none will be for much longer. I’m seeing goldfinch every day. But I haven’t heard a robin for a full week now, and it’s been weeks since the song of the wood thrush has brightened my evenings.

Now I know that it’s too soon for the robins to head south, so where are they? I have no idea. Apparently they have found other accommodations. Perhaps they’ve simply wandered off the mountain and down into the surrounding fields. Starlings have also been in short supply this week, for no good reason that I can think of. Yet the bluebirds are here, and the mockingbirds, and the flickers. The owls are suddenly out and about again, and I can feel the year turning away from summer.

Late summer is a time of disappearances. One by one, bird species disappear and the woods grow more silent. New growth in the forest has stopped, and the annual growth in the forest’s understory is starting to look withered, despite this week’s rain. Bird by bird, plant by plant, summer is ending.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Slowly it happens. At least the crickets, grasshoppers, and cicadas pickup the singing for a bit longer!

ChicagoLady said...

My robins have disappeared too! You'd think with all the rain, they'd be "digging" (pun intended) the chance to feed on worms! Granted, I don't get the birds you get in your forest, but all I've seen lately are sparrows, a dove, and I heard a bluejay the other day. No robins, no cardinals, no starlings, no blackbirds, no grackles. Could it be the weather that is making them scarce?

PA-Birder said...

There is something good about having a daily relationship with the same piece of land, getting to know its subltle changes, letting it get into your bones, into your soul, having it change you as you and it go through differing cycles of life.
Vern

Carolyn H said...

Jennifer: Right now the cicadas are plenty loud! They're loud enough when I'm inside the cabin, but now that I'm sleeping outside, it's really noticeable!

Chicagolady: I thought too that all this rain would be robin heaven and make digging for worms easy, so I'm surprised by their disappearance. I suspect their disappearance is weather-related, but I can't explain why.


Vern: Not only is there something good about a daily relationship with the land, sometimes I think there is nothing better.