Monday, October 29, 2007

Cows: Yes; Juncos: No


A field of cows doesn't have much to do with life at the cabin, but at least once a year, cows in a pasture with a pretty mountain in the background gets to me, and I'm forced to take a photo of them. I've now gotten it out of my system for a while.
As you may guess from the title of today's post, I still haven't found juncos at the cabin, despite some rather intensive searching this weekend. Even without juncos, it was an interesting few days at the cabin. What I did see was many, many birds exiting the region for the winter. I literally saw hundreds of chipping sparrows, that most ubiquitous of summer sparrows, in groups from just 5-6 to 20 or more. They are fleeing the area in droves right now, and once they are gone, looking for other species of sparrows will be much easier, as I won't have 499 of them to look at before finding the 1 that isn't a chipping sparrow.
After weeks of not seeing a robin, suddenly I am seeing a few again. These are not the same robins that were here all summer, but migrants that are moving down and through the region. Some of them, those larger, tougher, slighthly browner Canadian robins that locals here call "woods robins" may well stay throughout the winter, thinking they have already come far enough south to spend the winter.
I also had saw a phoebe, several weeks after the local phoebes left. Raptors were moving, too--redtails and sharpies especially. Some of these will likely winter over, too.
One summer resident that has so far not left is the killdeer. I still hear them nearly every morning in one of Roundtop's parking lots. I don't expect they will remain much longer, though.
After several days of rain that grew into an ever colder rain as the days passed, the temperature is now near normal for this time of year. However, the chill doesn't yet feel "deep," for lack of a better word. The trees or the rocks or the ground itself is still holding onto the heat of the year. The wind feels chill but there's an underlying warmth beneath it somehow, as though if the wind stopped, the land would quickly warm again. The cooler weather hasn't yet settled into the rocks or the cracks and crevices. That takes a while longer.

2 comments:

Cathy said...

Well, it was cold enough for me this morning. Woke up to frost this morning.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy,

I didn't have frost on the mountain but I only had to drop down about 100 feet before I found some. For once, the mountain kept me a little warmer than the valleys--and I live on the west side of the mountain, which I think helps too.

Carolyn H.