Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The more seasons change...

The mornings grow ever-darker as I move further from the longest days of the year. This morning the darkness was heightened by overcast skies. For a few moments I even considered wearing my headlamp during my morning walk with Dog. I let it go this morning, but it won’t be long, likely no more than another week, before I will need it.

Because Dog and I are now taking our walks around dawn, what I see on the walk is different than I saw when our walks were after sunrise. The birds I see now are mostly crows, with the odd barn swallow or bluebird thrown in for variety. This morning, the crows were harassing the sharp-shinned hawk that I saw a catbird harassing last evening.

Raptors have a tough life as it is without near-constant harassment by one species or another. I’ve read that nearly 80% of fledglings die in the first year when their hunting skills are still poor. And with red-tailed hawks their success rate for killing their prey apparently is just a single success out of an average of 20 attempts. Easier, I think, to be a species whose food is plentiful, even if that makes you are a prey species.

And with that raptor note comes a reminder (or an announcement, depending on your point of view). The fall hawkwatching season is now open. The first three hawkwatches counted for at least a few hours this past Sunday, though only Waggoner’s Gap near Carlisle is full-time this early in the season. The first days of migration season are virtually never auspicious ones and this year is no exception. Still, the season has begun!


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

An hour lost since the solstice, and twice that to come by month's end. I notice it most, too, during the mornings when it just isn't daylight nearly so early anymore.

Love the photo.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I am within a minute or two of needing that headlamp!

Carolyn H.