Thursday, September 29, 2022

Adjusting to Autumn

Autumn has settled in quickly here in central Connecticut, with temperatures dropping even into the low 40s° F ( ~ 6° C) some nights. Before disappearing just a week ago, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds became scarce. No more than one visited the feeders until the last one stopped by on September 21. This was my final encounter with one  in a natural setting:

A cold front moved in from the northwest on September 22. The trees over the Loveland Preserve are showing a blush of yellow:

Yesterday morning the view of downtown Hartford, eleven miles distant, was particularly crisp. I enhanced my image by layering three exposures to create an HDR effect in COREL PaintShop Pro:

Small flocks of  Eastern Bluebirds have been foraging for berries and insects.  This male posed nicely on the fence rail:

Another bluebird was suddenly visited by two other common species, a House Finch and an Eastern Phoebe:

The phoebes are finding fewer flying insects. They and the bluebirds are eating berries. Here, a phoebe has plucked the blueberry-like fruit of the Virginia Creeper:

The Chipping Sparrows have molted out of their distinctive breeding plumage into a more subdued pattern.

Back on April 17:

Now, on September 25:

There was much action at the seed feeder, which will soon increase with the arrival of winter residents. So as not to attract bears, we  bring in the feeders each night. Here, a male House Finch, a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Black-capped Chickadee gather to feast:

A highlight was the appearance of a  wandering winter visitor which breeds in northern Connecticut and over northern New England and Canada, but rarely strays into our area before October or November. It was a female Purple Finch. So far this month I have seen and photographed, possibly this same one, on three separate  days:

While it is similar to the House Finch, the Purple Finch is bulkier and has a proportionally larger head and a distinctive face pattern. The upper portion of the beak (culmen) of this House Finch is noticeably more curved.:

We have had golden or amber sunsets this past week. We were accustomed to seeing bright red ones all summer. There is maybe a scientific reason for this, as the sun's rays must pierce more of the earth's atmosphere in the colder months-- are the warmer colors filtered out, or are these just random events?

September 25:

September 27:

I try to find reflections, especially along Diamond Lake, but the best I could do this week was this incidental capture of my distorted face and iPhone as I photographed mugs which celebrate the Irish surnames of my and MaryLou's grandmothers:

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Changing seasons

The nights are getting cooler and longer and the hummingbirds are exiting for southerly climes. For two days in a row I saw no hummers at the feeder. Then, yesterday, a single one showed up. I did not get a picture, but here are a couple of shots of an adult female back on September 12,  just before nearly all the adults departed and left the youngsters a bit more time to fatten up before they also headed south:

Yesterday morning I looked out the side door window and saw that the small birds had suddenly disappeared from the feeder area. I found out why-- an immature Red-shouldered Hawk was roosting on the back fence. I shot through a back window:

The hawk flew off and the birds immediately returned to feed. First in was this White-breasted Nuthatch, waiting on a rock. It flew up and seemed reluctant before dropping down:

A female American Goldfinch perched on a stalk and then was joined by a youngster asking to be fed:

I cleaned out the bluebird nest. Opinions and research findings are mixed as to whether to remove or  leave the nest in place and let them build a new one on top. I fear that if the nest builds up nearer to the nest hole, it will possibly expose the eggs and nestlings to predators. Interestingly, the nest was almost entirely constructed with needles of native White Pine:

Eastern Bluebirds are now flocking. Some will stay all winter and visit the suet feeder. This one posed out in the sun on the fence rail. The camera increased the exposure because of the dark background, but I forgot to reduce compensation:

The White-tailed Deer have all taken on their dark winter coats. Since the inside of their ears are white, they stand out  from the shadowed understory:

Wild "Scratchdaisies" are in widespread bloom. The iPhone identified them from my photo as Croptilon sp but I could not find a match that has tiny white daisy-like flowers: 


The homes next to us are on large wooded lots and some are not even visible from the street. On our morning walk along the lake we have met many more accessible neighbors. One lakefront resident let me take a photo of the 1930 Ford Model A which he restored. The license plate reflects the order of its manufacture:

The surface of Diamond Lake was stirred by the breeze:

Turtles rested on a log that also created a windbreak which showed their reflections on the lee side:

Some of the trees along the back yard clear-cut acreage are beginning to show fall color:

This is the view to the west from the entry of our "Casita:"

Fog can either enhance or destroy a photo. It did a little bit of both one morning this week as it crept up from the valleys:

Sunset on September 20:

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