DELMARVA ALMANAC

Oyster Skies & Golden Hues

by Dana Kester-McCabe



Now that summer is officially over we see the arrival of oyster skies which bring rain, cooler temperatures, and warmer colors. The bugs are not quite gone yet but it is nonetheless a great time to get out and see the wild sights.

Migrating Canada geese are starting to arrive and the landscape's colors are just starting to change. Yellow wild flowers seem to be everywhere including golden rod, the Maryland Aster, and Jerusalem Artichokes. Their tubers were once a staple of Native Americans and early colonists alike.

Another native plant that is coming into full color now are persimmon trees which are a favorite snack for deer. According to my wild food's field guide* these are best eaten by humans after the first frost.

At Assateague recently it was interesting to see this flock of great white egrets roosting like exotic fruit in the trees. I also got a close look at a black vulture. His dragon like appearance is perhaps not quite as ugly as the red faced turkey vulture commonly seen here. But, this perky little gold finch from Powellville is much cuter.

I spotted this scruffy little tri-colored heron on a dock in West Ocean City the other day. And then at my favorite spot on Turville Creek I ran into these two friends I have photographed before: a belted king fisher and this red headed woodpecker. I can't prove they are exactly the same birds I have seen there, but I like to think they are.

Butterfly season is just about finishing up as I write this. This is when my potted sedum attracts a lot of these skippers.

This is also the week of the year when we hear reports of flocking monarch butterflies heading south to winter below the equator. I have as yet to witness this personally and I'd really like to see it. So I've put a shout out on face book and twitter in hopes someone will give me a heads up if they see this happening. In years past Lewes, Ocean City, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge near Cape Charles have been hot spots. Maybe this year I'll finally get to see them.

image
image
image
image
image
image


References:


Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Field Guide and Cook Book - Workman Publishing - New York -1976