It’s easy to tell when September’s getting close – the male hummers start to dive bomb the feeders, chasing away anyone who might want some of that precious nectar. They sip as much as they can, then sit like little fluff balls on a high branch, guarding the feeder from any competition. I think they look at their little hummingbird watches and see that it’s nearly September. They always seem to be gone on September 1, on the dot.
The females and young males – no red patches on the breasts – stick around another couple of weeks, drinking from the feeders, the squash blossoms, anything they can find. September 15 seems to be their deadline for heading South. So everything is normal there.
But the deer! Their coats are already turning gray-brown – their heavy winter coats. Their beautiful summer reddish-brownish and tan coats usually don’t even start to turn until sometime in October. Yet I saw a doe this week who is nearly all winter-colored already. And everyone has a patch in the middle of their backs that is cold-weather ready.
I haven’t seen any wooly worms yet – the blacker they are, and where the black strip is on their girth, tells a lot about winter – so folk say, and so I have seen. I do not want a cold winter – too many people will be pushed under by their energy bills. I want a long, long fall.
It’s okay with me if we have an early cold snap. It gets the season under way, and gets rid of the mosquitos so I can enjoy the yard again. But I’m going to keep visualizing that long fall and early spring.