It’s the kind of weather that is more likely to produce thunder and lightning storms in the afternoons. Mammals saner than the chippie who lives under the feeder are probably choosing siestas over food. The only other ones we have seen were a pair today of large opossums in a tangle (siblings? more than that?). Scruffy as always, they sauntered off trying to look casual. We don’t often see possums so it’s good to know they are succeeding. One theory of their territorial spread to Southern Ontario posits that they crossed the Rainbow Bridge travelling on truck manifolds. Warm and convenient. I find marsupials fascinating because the embryos actually find their own way to the exterior pouch and their mother’s milk. Whether you like their appearance or not, you have to admit that’s pretty darn impressive. I don’t know about you but my embryonic self didn’t do much in the way of solo travel.
There are birds around, of course. They all drop by the feeder but there’s better stuff available this time of the year. In fact they are probably experiencing un embarras du choix: (What should we have for dinner? I simply can’t decide!) There are the usual huge mulberry trees covered with sweet fruit but the big news this year in our garden is that the amelanchier (serviceberry) finally produced quantities of fruit. We called them saskatoons when I was a marble-playing kid and they are toothsome. This amelanchier was expensive but it’s proved its worth this year, treating us to fat, if somewhat diarrhetic, robins hanging from it. We are counting on those robins to plant a bunch more.
One of the joys of summer birdwatching is sorting out parents and kids. Baby birds look like adults but still behave like kids (think teenagers). There’s a male cardinal right now who hasn’t mastered the art of landing on the squirrel-proof peanut feeder. He is trying to hover like a hawk or a humming bird. Like every young adult, he wants to do it by himself, while reserving the right to ask Mom and Dad for handouts. He’s flown off now, probably to do just that.
And so the perennial story plays out in our garden, as it does in yours. I have to keep reminding myself that four months ago ice and snow and mud ruled. This season sees me taking multiple shots of summer’s bounty, which I store until the winter when my soul craves colour. In particular, I need to remember that my digitals won’t do full justice to reds because I can see that every time I take a picture. I will write myself a note to read in January, even though I already know I won’t believe it.