It has been a busy October at Carpenter Nature Center.Â So busy that the Apple Shack sold out of apples early this year. Usually ‘The Shack’ is open until Thanksgiving, but this year the doors closed for the season on Monday.Â
Bird migration has also slowed down and now we are just waiting for some of those interesting winter specialties to show up. I’m personally hoping for Crossbills again this year-but I think that may be a little overly optimistic as the are no predictions of a Crossbill Irruption this year. The Winter Finches, which includes species such as Redpolls, Pine Siskins and Crossbills, aren’t predictable annual migrants and tend to move more based on the seasonal variations in seed and cone crops. In oneÂ winter we may see hundreds of Common Redpolls at Carpenter Nature Center, then we won’t see another redpoll at the center for 5 years. If you are curious about which finches might venture south to our area, please visit the Winter Finch Forecast: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/ron-pittaways-winter-finch-forecast-2010-2011Â
One of the heralded signs of warmer weather are our beautiful, bold Eastern Bluebirds. While most of the bluebirds have flocked up and headed south, there are a number of tough little bluebirds who spend the whole winter in our area. When I worked at Cardinal Corner Bird Store in Newport, we had reports of bluebirds throughout the winter.Â
Please enjoy the following poem about bluebirds by CNC volunteer Linda Whyte.
Browns and Beautiful Blues
Everywhere in the river-bottoms,
A study in brown
the forest floor, a carpet of leaves
Russets, tan and beige
On sandy ground
The tree-trunks, an earthen
Reflected in flood-swollen
Only the warm late-autumn sun
And occasional patches of golden green
Alter the sceneryâ€™s mood
From somber to subdued
Until…a tiny blaze of sapphire blue
Flashes into view,
Like a piece of clear sky fallen
Among the trunks
Then blown back up
And caught in the tree limbs.
Suddenly, bursts of blue
Are popping everywhere
Splashing the woods with glorious color.
The sapphire gems, offset with
Blood-red and bright white
Have come to life
And the water-reed calls
Of bluebirds ring in sweet profusion.