August Means Abundant Wildlife

by Dana Kester-McCabe

imageAugust is simply the month of - more of everything outdoors - especially now that we have had at least a little rain.

Lately I have seen hawks along many of our highways, and I keep hearing one in the woods across the field from my house. This one I saw in an empty little neighborhood off Zoar Road in Delaware. It was a development that built roads but apparently did not sell more than two or three of its lots. These ghost developments have no traffic, and are often fruitful places for the drive by birder. You cannot get out and walk around without permission of course; but there are often interesting birds to be seen from the comfort of your car.

Other birds I’ve seen this month include this scruffy little blue gross beak. My husband seemed to believe this was a mocking bird, but on closer inspection of the photograph I think is some sort of sparrow.

As usual the egrets have been plentiful. They are prominent in my most photographed list. Also along the waterlines were another member of that list: the ubiquitous blue herons, as well as this little tri-colored heron, some member of the sand piper family, and one of my favorites: the dare devil skimmer who fishes while flying - seeming to never watch where they go.

I’ve also had an abundance of luck getting pictures of osprey lately. Two boat trips and my telephoto lens allowed me to get reasonably close to channel marker nests without making the birds too mad. I also came across this pair having breakfast together near St. Martin’s River just the other day.

On that same outing these two deer were having their breakfast in a nearby soybean field. These and other bucks are in velvet right now and will be for a little while longer. They will shed those mossy covers on their antlers before mating season begins in the Fall.

Right now it is also prime bug season. For some reason there are always seem to be large spiders building huge webs just outside my back door during August. They freak me out a little but they do eat other pests. The praying mantis is another beneficial bug who is a welcome site in the garden right now. And so are all the butterflies like this painted lady, this fritillary, buckeyes, and these yellow swallow tails.

All in all its certainly worth braving the heat and the mosquitoes to get outside to take a few good pictures right now.