We clung to summer for all it was worth this year, but this week nature seems to have finally put away her flip flops. Retail stores would have us skip the next season in line and go straight to winter with Christmas decorations already outnumbering Halloween candy. But autumn is fully upon us and with all the lovely things this season brings to the Northeast, I think we should pay fall its due, starting with the birds.
My recent bird lists at the nature center are full of fall with hints of the colder season to come. Our resident Mallard pair glides across the back pond looking quite content that they are once again a pair instead of a family of ten. Flocks of White-throated Sparrows are kicking up the fallen leaves and just starting to call, “Old Sam, Peabody Peabody Peabody.” Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets flit around the overgrown fields. A Great Blue Heron lumbers across the sky on its way south with hundreds of other migrating birds. The flash of white feathers on the outside of a Dark-eyed Junco tail makes me think of snow. And just last weekend an enormous white chicken was spotted by many visitors dodging apples in the field behind the Sugar Shack, a site definitely reserved just for special days in the fall.