Things have been quiet here at the old blogstead because I've been "on vacation." Didn't go anywhere, but I don't have Internet at home, so no postings were possible. Saw some neat stuff around the neighborhood, though, and I thought I would share.
For instance, it seems that in the last couple weeks the merlins fledged. This seems late to me for birds to fledge, especially raptors, but there they were: four young merlins shrieking away from the tree behind a house on the next street over from mine. I heard them for several days, and then finally on one of the last mornings of July (or the 1st of August) Toby and I were walking down the street and saw the four lined up on the roof ridge of the house in front of "their" tree. What a racket they were making! One was exhibiting great nerve and made a foray or two out from the roof, over the street and back. A couple days later, they were all on the utility lines in front of the house - still making a lot of noise. By mid-week they had made it over to my street - I saw (and heard) them as they cruised the neighborhood. And now all is quiet. They must've moved on to bigger and better places!
Also of note, I finally dragged Toby down the small embankment next to the Rescue Squad to ID the purple flowers growing in the waterlogged ditch: smaller purple fringed orchids (Habenaria psycodes - a rather strange name)! These are a first for me. There were maybe a dozen or so plants in bloom (now down to about five or six) in a place where I've never before seen them. I've been worried about their survival, though, because for the last couple of weeks a crew has been out with a backhoe digging up many of the roadside ditches in town, and the town crew has been out mowing down the roadside flowers. Hopefully both treatments will pass by this spot...so far, so good.
We've added another 3+ inches of rainfall this month already. Water levels remain quite high - I'm looking forward to some good fall paddling this year! There are some folks in town trying to get together a paddling group. If anyone is interested in joining, contact Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.