In the shadowy woods autumn has already arrived, while sunshine on the marsh still reflects summer’s heat.
The striped berries of Starry False Solomon’s Seal – if that’s too much of a mouthful, just say Smilacina stellata – make good food for birds, mice, and perhaps for a plump-cheeked chipmunk.
Migratory birds are already passing through from the far north. Both the Greater and the Lesser Yellowlegs are likely to pass through here, and I can only guess that the bird below is a “yellowlegs, more or less”.
We are right on the edge of year-round habitat for Wood Ducks, so this female could be planning a short flight south or getting ready for winter here.
The young ones that were born here this summer are now full-grown. One of them appears to have done fine so far in spite of missing an eye.
The Black-Crowned Night Herons are much easier to find lately, now that their young ones are just as big as the adults and no longer so vulnerable.
Green Herons are also easier to spot, as they stalk along the marsh edges for a quick meal.
As summer gives way to fall, the damselflies and dragonflies are growing scarce. A damselfly, below, is warmed by the morning light while resting on a hydrangea paniculata leaf.
The Green Darner, too, moves only slowly in the early morning cool. But unlike most other dragonflies, this species can migrate as far south as the West Indies to prolong summer.
Photo at top of page: Trending Orange – a Pearl Crescent butterfly on yellow echinacea flower (click here for full-screen view)