A Time of TransitionIn many ways where I live these weeks are a delight; what might have seemed to some of us oppressive heat and humidity have given way to astonishingly comfortable weather.
But I view one aspect of our summer as decisive regarding the end of summer. It seems the Monarch butterflies are migrating still, well into September, and trying to profit from generally pleasant if not wonderful weather.
On my lake walk this morning I got to see five Monarchs, the most I have seen any day this year, except when I was recently on a couple of five-hour drives, when they were flying over my path so I noticed at least 20 or so, a couple of weeks ago.
I do not recall so many so late, which may be encouraging, especially given the awful effects of the rainfall last winter in Mexico.
For me though I think what hit me today was the relative quiet - no Red Wing trills, no Song Sparrows. We seem to be down to the year-long birds now, the Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards, Ring-Bulled Gulls, Double-Breasted Cormorants, Common Pigeons, Common Terns, and House Sparrows (though they hardly show up at the lake, and I leave out other birds that feature in my back yard all year (Blue Jays, Cardinals, Starlings, Crows, OK I don't leave them out)). The Juncos are tricky - over the last few years they have seemed summer birds and then they have visited my deck in the winter. And the Jays, Cardinals, Starlings, and Crows are pretty noisy - but the soundscape cannot match resident Red Wings by the lake.
In a few weeks the Oldsquaws and Buffelheads will return. Maybe Loons - we have seen that.
It will be a thrill and, as one ages, a tricky feeling about yet another year passing.