Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Colors of Fall, with Wildlife

The Colors of  Fall, with Wildlife

Ah, Fall!
Here at last.
How I love it, and I'll count the ways, somewhat.
Take yesterday, for example, I woke to an ice-blue sky, that endured from dawn to dusk, with a mild breeze chilling the 65-degree sun patches that spotlighted the birds bobbing on the Mill Creek mirror's technicolor blend of burnished golds, ruby reds and lingering greens of the ample shoreline foliage, as well as the banks beside ponds at McNary Wildlife refuge at Umatilla.
We have the many winged visitors heading south, and stopping over to rest, along the Pacific Flyway: mallards, wigeon's, great white egrets, hooded mergansers, wood ducks, and shovelers, common mergansers, white pelicans, bald eagles, and any number of surprises.
Some like it here and remain.
The legendary variety of this stormy Northwest season adds a pleasant spice to dog walking with Nora the Schnauzer that eases the summer's abusive heat, and I welcome it.
As today's 10-day weather forecast predicts, this variety will  include 19-degree nights, as harbingers of winter, within a fortnight.

Deer also wander about Mill Creek (Rooks Park area) and Bennington Lake.  A woman in purple may paddle across the lake, viewed between yellow cottonwood leaves. And, at dusk, the sun sinks behind the dam.

Today, for another example, slate-gray clouds filled the front window pane at first light, and the initial backyard visit with Nora the Schnauzer revealed a thick, fluffy blue-gray canopy stretching toward each cluttered horizon, and by the second trip out a soft drizzle caused Nora to pause before venturing onto the rumpled carpet of yellow-brown leaves.
At colorful Pioneer Park, the melancholy tone of the day altered slightly to fit the spirit of the season.

I love the fall. It may be my favorite season.
Well, except for the spring when the flowers bloom, the leaves sprout and a plethora of migrating visitors head north again to breeding grounds.
Actually, I don't mind the winter, either. A number of  birds hawks, eagles, herons and Pelicans -- to mention a few -- spend winter months in the Walla Walla Valley and at lakes to the north (especially eagles at Lake Coeur d'Alene, Lake Pend Oreille and Roosevelt Lake).
Traipsing around in the winter poses few problems for me, or for Darlene and Nora. We dress warm and head out.
Only during those beastly dog days of summer do we (except for Darlene) suffer beneath that blistering sun.
We look forward heading north soon.

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