The nights are chilly, the trees are dusky green and we even have a few bits of color appearing on the dogwood trees. The nightly katydid chorus gets much quieter as the temperatures fall. In the midst of summer one can hardly talk on the porch for the loudness of the katydids. Mountain folk estimate the temperature by the calls of the katydids. And it is, in fact a scientific truth. The katydids have a call frequency based on the temperature of their thoraxes, which in turn is based on the outdoor temperature. The formula is T=(C + 161) / 3. (Temperature equals the number of calls per minute plus 161 with the result divided by three). Only problem I have found is that I cannot possibly count the number of calls. (Plus we do have outdoor thermometers that register digitally inside.) But anyone can recognize that there are fewer calls on chilly nights.
We have several species of katydids here in the North Carolina mountains and they inhabit common areas. Females can identify males of the same species by the frequency of calls (i.e., thorax temperatures) because they will be the same as the females. Mountain folk also predict the time of the first frost based on the time the katydids begin to call the famous, "Katy did. Katy didn't."
Here is a katydid common to our area.
I'm not sure why it's climbing on our window screen.
Another sign of waning summer around here is the profusion of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We now have migrant hummingbirds from the north joining our summer resident hummingbirds. Most often they hover around our feeders in sparring matches, each trying to prevent the others from drinking the nectar. They are such little things and have so far to travel, one would think it in their best interest to share. But that's not going to happen.
It's a chilly morning and this little hummingbird is fluffed up to keep warmer.
But chilly or not, it continually looks around for others who might want to share the bounty of the feeders.
I love this time of year. The only negative I have is that the hours of daylight are waning along with the summer. But here in the mountains we will still have many more sunny days than not. A vast improvement over the twenty years of gray, cold, and snowy winters we had in Wisconsin.
The leaves will soon turn these mountains into a glorious palette of color. And it's football season again. How 'bout them 2 and 0 Packers?