Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Changing for the seasons

The color change this autumn seems more variable than is typical. By that I mean that I can still find spots where the leaves are green and haven’t changed at all. In other spots a lot of the leaves are down and the trees completely bare. And yet on other trees the colors have faded but the leaves still hang on. Some variability is always present; this year it simply feels to me as though there’s more of it than usual.

Take today’s photo, for example. I took the photo on Sunday, but the overall impression of fall barely registers in it. The dominant colors are the green of the spruce tree and the paler green tree in front of it. Yes, you can see leaves littering the lane, but the main impression is still greenish. And yet just a few feet away the trees were mostly bare, with that vaguely spooky look twisted branches have in winter.

Migration is largely over for the season, as it should be. Oh, yes, the rough-legged hawks and golden eagles will still fly, but the songbirds are gone—except for the newly arrived northern robins, who have already migrated for a thousand miles or so and seem to think they have now arrived in the south. They have displaced the local robins, who headed off a month ago, feeling that same need to travel to warmer climes as the northern robins.

For them the difference is one of perspective, I think. Perhaps both feel the need to travel south by a thousand miles or so, no matter where that drops them off. For the local robins that puts them in Georgia or northern Florida. For the Canadian robins, that same 1000 miles or so puts them in my woods. Many will stay through the winter, often flocking up with their cousins the bluebirds, seeking out puddles of open water or soft ground.

I am back to my normal pre-winter preparation pace, after the shock of suddenly dealing with a large, early-season snow. Although the chicken pen is mostly moved to its winter location, I still need to do more with it, and I will, just not this week. The fallen leaves are now ankle deep on my decks. The front deck was just broomed off on Sunday but today looks as bad as the back deck, which I didn’t touch this weekend. Fighting off hordes of forest leaves is a battle that won’t end for weeks yet.

My snow shovel is still in my car, put there when I had to dig out from my parking spot. I think I’ll just leave it there now until March is over. No need to remove it at this point, when I’ll only need to put it back into the car within a few weeks anyway. Some winter preparation jobs just don’t need to be repeated, even though winter hasn’t arrived yet. There’s enough to do yet to get ready for winter without doing it over again.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Thanks for your perspective on the robin migration. I'm always perplexed that these birds hang around through the winter, since it seems a very hard way to make a living and a hundred miles or so further south it would be so much easier.