Someone should tell the local Roundtop deer they are no longer invisible.
They used to be invisible when they were bedded down just next to the paintball picnic pavilion when it was midsummer and the underbrush was lush. Now, with that thinner or nonexistent, I see their eyeshine and their ears in my headlamp every morning as I walk the dogs. They don’t bother to get up. If I make a second round of the snow-making pond, they will still be there. With hunting season on the horizon, not to mention poor weather, they will soon need a better hiding place and one that protects them somewhat from whatever cold weather throws at us this year. Five of them bed down in the same place every night—a large, old doe; two somewhat smaller doe, and two summer fawns that have now lost their spots for the most part. Maybe they just aren’t ready to let go of summer yet.
Summer has “let go” in other ways now. The mountains are starting to show color and should be near their peak next weekend, if the weather stays chilly. I can see a progression of the color from morning to evening now, and each morning brings more shades of autumn to the forest.
I hear both screech owls and great horned owls pretty regularly and often close to the cabin. I never hear the two on the same day. The big owl preys on the smaller one, which gives a wide berth to its competitor. I have yet to see white-throated sparrows or juncos, though both can be expected at any moment. The juncos are readily identified because of their white outer tail feathers. The sparrows take some looking at and that with binoculars. I was making a run to the recycling bin on Sunday morning, a 3-minute drive, and saw a small flock of sparrows, too far for someone without binoculars in hand to identify. They could have been anything, but I’d like to think they were white-throated sparrows. Even if they weren’t, those little sparrows will be here before long.