Journaling by definition is a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly
We have enjoyed exploring the mountains around Boone for its considerable natural wonders. In August the birds have mostly finished breeding and reduced their vocalizations, so we enjoy watching insects and anything else in the natural world that draws our attention.
I was surprised to find that in August the most common large butterfly near Boone is the pipevine swallowtail.
We are leaving shortly for our winter home in SW FL and are reluctantly saying goodbye to our beloved Blue Ridge mountain wildlife farm. As you can see from a photo of the house and immediate surroundings (we own 107 acres) taken on Oct. 3, the prevailing colors are tending towards brownish grasses and sedges, yellow goldenrods, and white and purplish asters. There are many signs of the approaching frosty weather.
Our weather is showing some cool night time temperatures, but frost is still 2-3 weeks away and there is lots of insect activity and still some late bird migration underway. Fall fruits are much in evidence, offering immediate snacks and some long term food supply. One of my favorites is the blue fruit of arrow wood viburnum. They are small enough for many species to eat and we have so many plants that they last into the fall. In contract, the winterberry hollies in our marshes are very bright red and seem to be a fruit that is not eaten so early as the viburnums. Isn't it interesting that such different colors are both so attractive to birds?
On a recent bike ride along the New River Trail in VA I was more or less in auto-pilot and was paying less attention to my surroundings than I should have. My biking companion Mason suddenly shouted that he had run over a copperhead! I was shocked that I had been so careless to have not noticed the rare snake and also doubted that it was really a copperhead.
Late summer is a time in our area of southwest Virginia for flowering of natives such as goldenrod, ironweed, impatiens, virgins bower, wing stem, green headed cone flower, great lobelia, thistles and others. Many of these flowers are an important nectar source for the beautiful butterflies we enjoy in our fields. Just as different flowers bloom during different months, different kinds of butterflies also emerge in seasonal patterns.
So much is happening in nature and in our human constructed world that we tend to ignore some of the most obvious events of the natural world. Plus there are literally thousands of sights and sounds vying for our attention and it takes a significant effort of will to focus and be observant. A certain training of the mind helps in watching even subconsciously for important clues and selecting them from the background "noise."
In late July on our VA farm, the predominant color of the landscape is GREEN! But our 10 year old pollinator field is now predominantly yellow with the blooms of oxeye sunflower. This is a table set for the multitude of mouths of the lepidopterans (butterflies and moths), which are a prime food for birds.
In general I do not recommend trying to improve on nature beyond the boundaries of the yard since the beauty of natural scenes is often incomparable. However creation of a Pollinator Field from a portion of hay fields or pastures or even yards can provide habitat for pollinators such as butterflies and bees, while also providing enjoyment to the land owner.
Spring is a wonderful time of year, with leaves and blooms emerging, birds singing, and amphibian reproduction in full swing. But breeding occurs over a prolonged period since different species have distinct tolerances and adaptations for seasonal progression in temperature and related habitat changes.