Fall Approaches

Those huge, lumbering yellow buses aren’t the only signs Summer is over and Fall is fast approaching. Even before the buses appeared, the resident squirrels and the invading Stellar Jays


were quarreling over who owns all those hazelnuts buried in our backyard.

Our Sunday visit to Belfair started out eerily quiet as we didn’t hear a single bird on our walk through the woods down to the wetlands, and we weren’t serenaded by a single Red-Winged Blackbird when we reached the wetlands.

We did see more Killdeer


than usual, and they were joined by a few Least Sandpipers


at the pond.


This time of year its unusual to spot Killdeer without also seeing migrating shorebirds. I wonder if shorebirds join them because, like the Canada Geese, they provide an early warning system. As we approach, the Killdeer warn of our imminent arrival while monitoring how close we are coming, while the shorebirds continue furiously feeding.

A week ago we saw large flocks of Gold Finches at Theler, but we didn’t see a single one on Sunday. Even the swallows seem to have disappeared, except for these two resting on the railing.


At first I worried that the juvenile might have trouble flying because it sat there huddled on the railing until we were much closer than usual, but as we approached the two lifted off without any apparent problem. I wondered if the parent was waiting for the youngster to gain strength before leaving for warmer country, because it’s clear it won’t be long before it will be too cold for insects around here, and we won’t see swallows until next Spring.