We see clear signs the summer is coming ’round to an end. Weather is still warm and bright, but suddenly it is no longer light when the alarm goes off in the morning.
I found this in our woods. It’s a fragment of what had been a fairly large paper wasp nest.
Here’s a view of the interior, the living quarters.
Someone was bold enough to knock it from its location in the treetops, probably to harvest the larvae in the nest. You can be sure it was not me! I happily engage honeybees. Vespids are another story.
These were probably Bald-faced hornets:
This is not my magnificent photo. It comes from the Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of PiccoloNamek. The Bald-faced hornet is not as fierce as she looks — I’ve encountered them many times with no sense of aggression from them. That doesn’t mean you want to walk up and mess with their nest in late summer! They will protect their home with every intention to drive you away.
The Yellow-jackets, on the other hand, have been fierce these late summer days. The other morning one of the men on the construction crew came hurtling up the slope, swatting and cursing. He’d found a nest under a pile of pipe and neither he nor the Yellow-jackets were one bit happy about it. He called them ‘bees,’ and I was stern in my insistence that those were not bees; they were wasps. He didn’t seem to appreciate the distinction. Bees take the rap for Yellow-jackets all the time.
Meanwhile, the gone-wild crab apples are hanging thick on their branches in waste areas.
Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) are molting their flight feathers, one by one. It must affect the rise and soar of the birds, but they stay up there anyway. I’ve seen several of them recently with serious gaps in their wings and tails, and a generous shedding of feathers onto the ground. These are big feathers — a foot or more in length.
Empty husks are appearing in the woods, a sign someone has been squirreling away nuts.
Crickets have begun to sing.
And the woods overall have a scent of rich balsam. The orchard has begun to exhale that perfume of slightly fermented, nearly rotting windfall fruit in the grass.
Everything is sighing at the end of the season, casting its seed, gathering itself for winter.
Here’s something new from WordPress: audio files embedded in the post. Click the Go arrow, and listen to Summertime while there is still summer in the season.