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OT: Nature

  • Subject: OT: Nature
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@cox.net>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 17:35:59 -0500

The Weather Service's long-range forecast for November, given about the end of
October, seems, in retrospect, about as rosy as the forecast for the housing
market before the bubble burst.  The mercury has followed the stock market.
The birds have headed south, too, except for the bold wren.  The river is
beginning to host rafts of bluebills, who usually aren't here until December,
if they get here at all.  That, I'm afraid, is a more reliable forecast.

With the departure of so many birds, the Cooper's hawks are finding the
pickings slimmer.  This morning, a female alighted low in the fringe tree at
the end of the drive and took up her post.  Had I not seen her when she flew
in, I would not have noticed her snugged up against one of the tree's slender
trunks.  Neither did the grey squirrel which came loping across the street.
When it was about 15 feet distant, she launched herself, low to the ground,
made a sharp, climbing cartwheel, and hovered a couple of feet above the
squirrel, which was caught flat-footed.  It was the squirrel's lucky day,
however, as the hawk apparently decided that the bushytail was a little larger
menu item than it wanted to tackle.  When the attack didn't come, the squirrel
raced to the tree the hawk had just vacated and sought shelter in the
branches.  The hawk flew off, apparently in search of more suitable fare.  A
little later, there was a lot of squirrel chatter in the back yard.  A male
Cooper's was sitting on the fence, with squirrels at either end barking at it.
The fence is a main highway of local squirreldom, and traffic was blocked.
>From the fence, the Cooper's could keep an eye out for chipmunks, which were
just the right size for a snack.  In the end, however, he tired of the
harassment and departed.

Meantime, I've cut and brought in the few bloomstalks that are showing color,
hoping they may bloom despite the couple of recent freezing nights.  The rest
I have little hope for.  Even so, it's been an unusually good rebloom year
here, and for that we can be grateful.  --  Griff

Zone 7 along the tidal Potomac near Mount Vernon, in Virginia

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