When I visited the meadows of Naugatuck State Forest a month ago, the goldenrods were in full bloom, and summer was just starting to consider giving way to autumn. When I returned there this morning, the seasonal transition was well under way -- most of the bright yellow has faded to brown, and although the trees haven't gotten into the full swing of fall yet, several of the smaller trees looked conspicuously bare.
There were birds everywhere, but few were willing to sit close enough and still enough to have their pictures taken. This fluffed-up Field Sparrow was the exception, perched contentedly within a patch of almost-completely-bare shrubs:
I enjoy the pale pink-ish markings on this little bird, and that white eye-ring definitely adds to the cuteness factor.
Part of my walk took me through what seemed to be an avian war zone. A small hawk flew by in the treetops, while 20 or so American Robins and Blue Jays went berzerk over my head, calling and flying from tree to tree, presumably in response to the hawk (a few chipmunks were sounding the alarm as well). There were several other small birds in the mix, too, but the bigger birds were by far the most raucous -- I've never seen robins make so much noise before!
The days are getting shorter, and the nights colder (in the 40s and 50s, no real frosts yet), and I came across quite a few insects still out and about and doing their thing. This fantastic Common Buckeye (a new butterfly for me) landed on the path to sun itself for a little while:
Now those are some eye spots!
A few dragonflies were prowling the fields, and this bright orange damselfly seemed an appropriate herald of fall:
As the day warmed up, more insects awoke, and the grasses hummed with the sounds of grasshoppers. This particularly angry-looking fellow jumped out and stared me down:
I thoroughly enjoyed today's perfect fall weather, and I'm waiting excitedly for the leaves to really start to change -- I've seen a few red/orange trees already, and the rest should be on their way soon!