Yesterday started sunny and mild. A brisk, warm wind raced ahead of a stormy cold front, and it was impossible to stay inside.
Low tide had drained the marsh into a muddy network of puddles, many of them marked with fresh tracks.
I would have stayed longer, but the sharpening wind made trails increasingly unfriendly. Cones clattered down from the canopy. Branches creaked and scraped. Trees swayed so hypnotically that I gave up on watching the trail and staggered along with my attention focused overhead, stumbling over roots and ruts.
I also spotted dozens of potential nest cavities.
When a long-dead tree shattered across my path, I decided it was time to find the car.
This morning, our damaged fence made me wonder how many more trees fell in the park overnight, and how many nesting places were lost.
Today we walked one of our favorite trails at First Landing State Park.
We heard a report, shortly after arriving, that two Bald Eagles had been spotted there this morning. We missed the eagles, but did see a number of egrets.
As usual, I tried in vain to photograph the trail’s smaller birds. I missed Eastern Bluebirds and Chickadees, White-throated Sparrows and Brown-headed Nuthatches. I missed Pine Warblers and Downy Woodpeckers. The only one I didn’t miss was this wren.
I believe it’s a Carolina Wren, though it was not singing a typical Carolina Wren song.
I’m very curious to hear from more experienced bird watchers. Is this a Carolina Wren? If so, is this a typical call variation?
Now that I’m home and at my computer, I find myself wishing I had stayed out longer. If our forecast holds, the next few days will be too cold for comfort. I will be trapped indoors with a frightening stack of neglected bookkeeping. I might be forced to start another crochet project or organize the archives. Work on an unfinished manuscript. Fake an illness. Anything to avoid starting the taxes…
First Landing State Park is beginning to feel the onset of fall. The osprey are migrating, leaving egrets and herons in charge. Grasshoppers carry on as if winter will never come, but the butterflies know better. They’ve disappeared, along with most of the bees. (I did see something that might have been a bee, but it also might have been a fly that wanted me to think it was a bee.)
Despite these changes, summer hasn’t abandoned the park entirely. Mosquitoes still bite and squirrels still play. Crabs forage while frogs sing a frantic final chorus. Turtles patrol the shallow ponds, their backs mounded with mud so that they look like curiously mobile islands.
And the sun is still strong enough to burn if you stay out too long. Like I did today. But I have a good excuse for my over-long walk and uncomfortable sunburn. I was chasing a kingfisher…
My video skills suffer from lack of discipline. My hands are shaky, I tend to forget my tripod, and I forget to turn on the image stabilization feature. I’m too eager with the zoom, always wanting to get “closer”. The resulting clips feature subjects that drift and leap out of frame. The quality of these two videos is best described as amateur, with hints of motion-sickness.
Like everything else, I’m working on it…
It’s definitely that time of year. Today’s walk in the park was all birds and bees. (Mostly birds, and most of the birds were osprey.)