The annual nature show called autumn is officially over here on Roundtop. All the leaves are down (and brown, too) and the sky is gray. This time of year is often challenging to photograph. Colors are limited to various shades of brown, and the light is so variable that what looks gorgeous one minute turns dull and drab in the time it takes to raise the camera to my eye. It takes me a while to adjust after the brilliance of just a week ago.
My outdoor forays were unusually limited this weekend. Heavy rain kept me inside most of Saturday, and the tornado watch kept me with one ear focused the radio much of the time. Sunday boasted gale-force winds much of the time, and those doesn’t make me want to rush outside and play. So I spent an inordinate amount of time inside and watching the birds at my feeders.
The new bird-feeding season is starting out quite a bit different than usual. So far, I haven’t seen a single northern cardinal. Usually I have 4-6 of them. Are they gone? Are they still finding food on their own? So far it’s a mystery. I also haven’t seen a Carolina wren this fall feeding season, though it’s possible I have simply missed them. They were never the most regular of my visitors.
The rest of my diners are pretty much the usual suspects, though titmice and chickadees of both the Carolina and black-capped variety seem a bit more abundant than average. The white-breasted nuthatch is furiously defending the feeder from all but the bigger birds—like the blue jays and red-bellied woodpecker. I haven’t actually seen the downy woodpecker in the feeder yet, but it is feeding on branches all around. Yesterday I had the first goldfinch that I’ve seen. It ignored the thistle tube (perhaps because of the wind) and fed in the platform feeder instead.
So far, I have had no unusual suspects at the feeders, but the season is early yet. Once the first snow dusts the mountain, I typically get all sorts of birds who ignored the feeders before the snow fall. Last night, snow flurries tickled my face as I walked the dogs after dark. It won’t be long.