The sandpipers are now in their fall plumage, with the spots starting to disappear on their breasts. I feel a bit sad seeing those, realizing that soon they will migrate.
The Canadian Geese are gathering into larger groups, and can be seen “practicing” flying together, honking away, then landing, in preparation for their fall migration. As the days get cooler, and the tops of the trees become tinged with red and yellow, the birds (and humans) can feel that fall is approaching.
Today, I saw four sanderlings – adult nonbreeding ones – who were migrating south and stopped in the bay for a drink and to eat. They were voraciously eating as they ran up the shore, and then stopped and looked right at me. I spent awhile taking photos of these beautifully marked little shorebirds. One even took a bath in the water, shaking and fluffing his feathers after running into the surf. They are adorable!
The egrets and blue herons are still here, and I wonder how long they will stay, as the days get shorter and the nights cooler. The heron “babies” are much bigger now, and look like a slightly grayer and less plumed version of the adults.
Some sandhill cranes have been coming to the swamps near Misery Bay in the evenings to feed. Their red-ochre plumage is gorgeous when the golden light of evening lights it up. I know they are feeding to have energy for their migration south, another sign of fall. I have also seen a pair in the fields just west of here, eating seeds.
The terns can be seen flying and swooping in the air over the bay. The fishing must be good, since they have stayed here all summer long.
The butterfly bushes still have a few flowers left, and the butterflies and hummingbirds can be seen hovering over them in the afternoons and early evening. Soon they, too, will be migrating as the days get shorter and the evenings cooler.
Fall is certainly here, and I expect the weather to change soon!