Fall Again

Wax Myrtle is ready for the picking.

I was walking past the Wax Myrtle that grows along the edge of the Wetlands and remarked about how the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten by the warblers, the Yellow-rumped Warblers. I hadn’t seen any yet this year, but about thirty minutes after making my remark about that waxy, myrtle fruit, there it was, my first sighting of a butter butt this season (10/10/13).

A Yellow-rumped Warbler (butter butt).

The fruit of the Swamp Rose is ready for consumption as well, rose hips.

Swamp Rose hips.

The plant pictured is in the northwest corner of the Wetlands.

A closer look at some of the rose’s hips.

Not quite seed-ready but in preparation is Groundsel Tree. Both male and female plants are now flowering, and if it wasn’t such a wet, cool, and cloudy day when the photo was shot they’d be loaded with bees, wasps, and other pollinators.

The flowers of the male Groundsel Tree.
The flowers of the female Groundsel Tree.

And finally a another bird, this time a local, year round resident.

A Brown Thrasher watches as migrating birds feed in “its” willow tree.

Migration, as you know, is underway. Many warblers and other largely insectivorous birds are moving south at this time. This influx of birds to our area sometimes makes the locals a bit nervous as the new arrivals pick through what the locals consider their food supply. The migrants may be simply moving through or in some cases looking for suitable habitat in which to spend the winter. In doing so they compete with many of the locals which tends to put them (the locals) on edge.

Now that the insectivorous birds have arrived or have already passed through, the granivores (seed eaters) will begin to show up, some already have. I’ve seen reports of certain sparrows being seen locally. There are still some warblers passing through, but the butter butts’ arrival (above)¬†essentially signals the beginning of the end of the warbler migration.

And, although I’m still seeing Chimney Swifts feeding overhead (they’re insect eaters), it won’t be long before all of our exclusively insectivorous birds exit, stage south. There’s one glaring exception, Eastern Phoebes. Our local phoebe will probably stick it out the entire winter.

Keep a lookout for sparrows and of course Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in the next few weeks. I’ve already seen a few sapsuckers in the area. In fact, I heard two of them foraging around in the Red Wolf Enclosure today (10/11/13).

There’s more to come.

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