Sorry I was offline unexpectedly. Partly I was away and partly I had internet access issues. So I'd better catch everyone up on what's happened in the past 3 days.
1. I've seen the first dark-eyed junco (Sunday). It was only one, no doubt a scout. The timing for its arrival is just about average--2 days earlier than in 2006 but 9 days ahead of 2007 (which was late).
2. The nights are now falling into the upper 30's. I have had a frost. Neighbors in lower areas have had a killing freeze. It's chilly enough this morning that a front moving through could, theoretically, bring some snow flurries--except that it's been so dry and the front is so weak that it's unlikely any precipitation will reach the ground.
3. Action at my feeders is starting to pick up. I haven't had anything unusual yet, just the usual suspects: Red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, blue jay, white-breasted nuthatch. I haven't seen a red-breasted nuthatch yet, though several have been sighted nearby.
4. I have a very annoying grey squirrel at my feeders. I've been wondering why the seed is disappearing so quickly when the feeder action is still kind of limited. Now I know. Jabba the Hut of a grey squirrel sits in the middle of the feeder, lazes back on his haunches and stuffs himself.
5. The leaves continue to fall (hooray!) and I can now see just a teeny little bit of the very top of the mountain to the west of me. Okay, so it's not much yet, but my view is beginning to return. At this point, I'd estimate that about 20% of the leaves around me have fallen. Winter is coming!