Monday, August 30, 2010

Quiet in the air

Fall migration has slowed down a bit, possibly because of the hot, calm days that dominated the weather this past weekend and will dominate for several of the days ahead. Blue skies without a cloud in any direction are typical right now, and the breeze is calm to nonexistent.
I headed down to the Susquehanna River again this weekend, still hoping to find some unusual and migrating shorebirds. I find great egrets and spotted sandpipers, though nothing really unusual. The spate of dry weather has exposed all kinds of rocks and mudflats, and the birds have a lot of choices about where to land and forage. In years when the water level is more normal, mudflats are restricted to just a few spots and the birds concentrate in those spots. This year, you can find a good mudflat almost anywhere, and the birds are spread out all over the place.

Yesterday I found this great egret on Brunner Island, eyeing a passing kayaker suspiciously. I thought surely the bird would flush but it didn’t, and the kayaker passed with the egret still giving it the evil eye.

Wood ducks and mallards are molting this week, so they are looking pretty ratty. I saw a few osprey, including one that folded its wings, dove into the water and emerged a second later with a small fish. It happened so fast (and only once) so I didn’t get a photo, though I’m pretty sure it was too far out for a decent photo anyway. Still, it’s been a while since I’ve seen one do that, so it was fun to watch.

Back on the mountain, the forest is as quiet as the river was. If it wasn’t for the drone of the cicadas, the woods would be nearly silent right now, with minutes between bird calls. Some of the summer residents have gone—wood thrush are no longer in evidence. I have tons of tree swallows but the barn swallows weren’t seen at all this weekend.

I can enjoy the quiet for a little bit, but if it goes on for too long it makes me nervous and a bit antsy for some change. I won't wish too hard for something different, though. I'm a bit afraid I'll get my wish.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Yea, carefully for what you wish for!!

There's a hurricane name Earl who could be the spoiler for teh weekend. I just need it off the jersey coast, and i'll could get a headache from it.