First Frost Fright

31 10 2007

frostyball

Two days ago saw our first real frost, as grass blades bent heavy to the ground and the sun’s path became illuminated in shades of green. My last post spoke of warmer weather, and in consulting my records I found that we are nearly 2 weeks later than last year’s first frost. There’s something about the clarity of the air in these brisk Fall mornings that makes the day seem almost limitless, and as I traipsed around the parking lot area, I was regaled with frosty seed heads, curling oak leaves, and the incessant chatter of chickadees in the distance.

Not surprisingly, the cooler temperatures and clear skies brought out hungry critters from the forest, and the day got off to an exciting start watching an adult sharp-shinned hawk taking swipes at the goldfinches near the feeders.

feederSSHA

(Female Sharp-shinned hawk perched above the N side feeders)

SSHAm

Her knowledge of the feeders either marks her as a very savvy late migrant, or one of our resident sharpies that patrol the feeders throughout the winter. Though sharpies breed around central NY, only their larger congener the Cooper’s Hawk is confirmed to be breeding in Sapsucker Woods (try and tell that to the frightened songbirds!), usually on the west side of the sanctuary.

As for the fright part, I’ve included a picture montage from our recent halloween celebration here at work, complete with pirates, scary people, and some just plain ugliness! Enjoy the holiday 🙂

mosaic

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