Thursday, August 27, 2009

Busy day around the mountain

Today’s butterfly is another summer resident at Roundtop—the great spangled frittilary. These are large butterflies, nearly the size of the swallowtails, so they are hard to miss. I don’t think I’ve ever met an ugly butterfly, but somehow the bigger ones are even prettier than the smaller ones. I guess it’s just that there’s more prettiness to look at in the big ones.

Perhaps it’s only that the weather has improved, but I am seeing more animals and birds around the mountain this week than I have for a while. Raccoon paid a visit to my front porch last evening, to the outrage of Baby Dog. The foxes have been tooling around the woods, too. I’ve been hearing their barks again, often at some distance from the cabin.

Swallows seem to be gone entirely now, replaced by crows who gather in groups large and small and wander around looking for trouble so they can happily announce it to the world. Crows are only happy, I think, when they find trouble to report. Of course, trouble to a crow is often of a minor nature. If there’s no big trouble to report, they are just as happy to report on someone walking across a ski slope or Dog nosing in the grass. If the trouble turns out to be something major, like a Red-tailed Hawk sitting quietly in a tree, so much the better, but really, any kind of trouble will do.

The teenaged titmice and chickadees also seem to be on the prowl more than they were just a week or so ago. Animals really understand the mean of the old farmer’s adage about "making hay while the sun shines." They know when to lay low and when to be out and about. Right now, they are all out and about.

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