Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall bonus

Sunday was a rare bonus. It’s not often that a day in late October is warm enough to sit comfortably outdoors and enjoy the pleasures of fall. Adding to that was this lovely warm day occurred not on a weekday or even on a busy Saturday, but on a Sunday, when people are more inclined to take the time to simply enjoy it. Everywhere I went I saw people outside walking, gathering with friends on their front porches or just sitting, still as a stone, faces upturned towards the sun.

I took full advantage of the day, too. Dog and Baby Dog both got long walks in the daylight, for once, not just in the pre-dawn darkness. We all enjoyed that change. This fall is not turning out to be a brilliant one for color, but that doesn’t mean what can be seen isn’t enjoyable. Fall is not just about leaves, but is also about the warm shades of fall sunlight, and that is as nice as ever.

Behind the cabin, I can now begin to see the outline of the mountains to my west. The outline has reached the point where it’s no longer more in my imagination than reality, either. The night sky is visible through the forest canopy enough so that I can even see a few stars—or will be able to once the moon wanes a bit.  The first white-throated sparrows visited my birdfeeder this weekend. They seemed confused by the feeder but attracted to it, watching the more skilled chickadees and titmice deftly comb the deck for seed.

My photo today was taken at Waggoner’s Gap hawkwatch, where I got to sit and watch the interplay of sky and clouds on the landscape below me, at least when I wasn’t seeing hawks. Fortunately for me, there were a lot of hawks to see. This week is the time that produces the best variety of raptor species at hawkwatches in the U.S. Golden eagles are beginning to fly. The uncommon northern goshawk is one species I get to see only once or twice a year—and happily for me I got to see it this past week. I’m still missing the rough-legged hawk, though I don’t get to see that rare migrant every year. It’s still too early in this season for that late-flying raptor. Perhaps I’ll get in one more visit before the season ends. Maybe I’ll see one then.


Woodswalker said...

Lovely view! Glad you got outside to enjoy the balmy autumn day. Such crazy weather. Here in northern NY it was barely into the 40s on Friday and tomorrow it should be in the mid-70s.

Cathy said...

Yes it was wonderful weekend and glad to see you got watch your hawks. I hope I got some good picture but i still have download them. Tomorrow1

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: Yep, crazy weather, and later today to get crazier and drop back to normal temperatures. At least the weather isn't boring!

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Hawkwatching was good, if cold on Friday. I wasn't quite ready for that 20 mph breeze atop the mountain!

Carolyn H.

Scott said...

First white-throated sparrows appeared in my neighborhood here in the PA Piedmont on Friday, October 15. My wife and I went to the Militia Hill Hawkwatch in Ft. Washington State Park on Saturday, October 16; many Red-shouldered Hawks were passing through that day. The Militia Hill Hawkwatch actually records the largest number of hawks of all hawkwatches in Pennsylvania, even more than Hawk Mountain(which has the second-highest number)!

Carolyn H said...

Scott: who gets the most hawks is pretty variable from year to year, depending on where the broadwings fly (or don't). This year it looks as though Cromwell Valley park in n. Maryland will get the honors.

Carolyn H.