|Blue moon over Nell's Hill, 6:15 a.m.|
We don’t usually walk that way in the mornings, but I wanted to see the setting full moon, so this morning that is where we walked. The deer were not amused. I took today’s photo with my phone because:
Good camera + Baby Dog = Does Not Mix
Signs that summer is winding down are suddenly everywhere. The barn swallows congregate in big numbers on the wires over the snowmaking pond. Congregating is what they do as they get ready to move south. I haven’t seen this many at once all summer. They will be gone shortly, within the week if they hold true to their pattern. Oh, I will likely see a few beyond that time, but those, I believe, are not my resident barn swallows but those heading south from further north. The ones from here tend to leave around August 26 or 27.
They are perhaps the earliest of the summer residents to leave the mountain. Certainly, they are the earliest of the most visible summer residents to head south. In the early spring I often see tree swallows and sometimes rough-winged swallows. But those don’t stay and move on within a few days. Rough-winged swallows sometimes do stay, though none seem to have done so this year.
Swallows are fast and not easy to see in binoculars, so identifying the others species can be difficult if the light is less than perfect. Male barn swallows have a nice long tail that makes them easy to identify. Tree swallows are quite white underneath, making them the second-easiest to identify. Rough-winged swallows? Well, if they are sitting, they are easy enough to identify. Swallows don’t sit very often and seem to do that most often at dusk or when I’m blinded by the glare of the rising sun. On the rare occasions when that doesn’t happen, I still have more barn swallows than any others.
Soon enough, I won’t have them at all until next April. Summer is winding down.