Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summer Rewind

The calendar says we have a couple of weeks before the solstice but it's decidedly fall in our parts. More and more birds on the move every day, leaves starting to turn, temperatures so low I may break out the long pants and sleeves at any moment. As everyone asks, mostly with the threat of a new school year around the immediate corner, where did the summer go?

This summer, which I'll define as roughly between Memorial Day and Labor Day, was fraught with many levels of uncertainty for us. A Memorial Day trip took us through Delaware searching for Red Knots in various places, eventually arriving in Virginia, but ultimately we wound up in Arkansas.

Note: I discovered the entire Delaware-Virginia series of posts never left "draft" status, they were recently published but time stamped so they appear around Memorial Day.

The bulk of June was spent around the yard getting to know our neighbors, for better or worse.

I became captivated by non-bird interests in mid-July, specifically the presence of Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars. Carefree summer days never really took hold. Having to bail on two vacation trips and one scientific meeting forced allowed me to spend more time at work, though working in Sapsucker Woods isn't a bad place to be. We did manage some weekend trips that filled the void quite nicely.

August started with an operation, leaving me watching nature from the indoors for a couple of weeks. That time allowed me to chronicle the Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar-to-butterfly development though we missed the actual emergence by a few minutes. I heard from the USGS and Canadian Wildlife Service about a banded Sanderling I photographed earlier in the summer, and with migration getting underway my direction turned towards nocturnal flight calls. Hopefully a series of species profiles will inspire even more people to train their ears upward and listen for the phenomenon. Even by day migration brings the unexpected as I found during a 20-minute stop at Montezuma NWR.

Not least of all I highlighted some new web content, including a challenging bird quiz (there's no bird directly involved!).

Ups and downs, but I think we're cleared for a good fall season. I wish you all the same!


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