Monday, September 21, 2015

Waning Days of Summer

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?


Carolina Linthead said...

Go, Pack! We saw a little hummer last evening, but it's day to day as to whether we'll see another...time for them to fly south. We have had glorious weather the last few days! And juvenile cardinals :)

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful hummer pictures!

Re katydids -- I have always enjoyed their music and now that I have rather bad tinnitus, I just tell myself I'm hearing katydids.

Cheryl said...

The hummingbirds look so fragile and yet the journeys they make tell us otherwise.
Such pretty little birds.

I often listen to the katydids when visiting Spain. I find it very therapeutic.

Arkansas Patti said...

Amazed that someone actually figured out a formula for katydid calls. Someone had time on their hands.
I have been feeding two quarts of nectar per day till just this last week when the crowd of hummers has thinned out. I leave the feeders up thru Oct for the travelers. I will miss them.

Hoehoegrow said...

You paint a very evocative picture of your life in the mountains! It is very different here in the uk although we too are beginning to feel the slight chill of autumn. No humming birds here though :-(

Ms. A said...

I'm ready for a bit of chilly! Hope you are enjoying yours, I'll bet Lucy is!

troutbirder said...

We love Wisconsin & often take rides in the beautiful hills and valleys of the southwest. The Packers not so much though I'll stand up for a Leinenkugels Honey Weisse most anytime...:)

How Sam Sees It said...

We are so thankful it is cooling off. For us, it means more walking opportunities with the pups and more time to ride.

Monty and Harlow

Anonymous said...

This is our first fall in many years that we are not hearing katydids. I remember nights when their calling kept me awake. I do miss them though. On our drive south through northern California, over the Golden Gate to the Monterey Bay area, we saw many trees changing color already, although most of them look rather desperate for rain. Hoping for a beautiful autumn everywhere.

Ginnie said...

Thanks for the info about the Katydids. Yes, the hummingbirds sure don't like to share and are continually on the defensive. They dive bomb very close to my face if I try to read outside while they are eating !

Lowcarb team member said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lowcarb team member said...

Gosh those hummingbirds do look a little fragile. I do wonder and admire their flight.
I love the Autumn for the brilliant colours we can see all around.

Hope you are having a good week.

All the best Jan

KB said...

I love the Katydid story of the frequency of calling. I bet that one of my former colleagues figured out that equation!!!!! You might be able to hear each individual note if you digitally record it and play it back slowly. I am going to read up on that one!

All of our hummers are gone so I loved seeing yours!!!!

NanaNor's said...

Happy First Day of Autumn. Our weather is changing, mornings and nights are cooling off besides the nights getting dark earlier. I know you must be enjoying the beauty of the trees; of course the Hummers would be so beautiful too.
Hugs, Noreen

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I love your photos. Those katydids sure do get loud. You've done a great job capturing these pictures. Summer is passing and fall is here. I love the bright colors of the trees. I hope you are having a great week.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Vicki - I have tinnitus as well. Perhaps I'll start thinking of katydids too.

Jane - Thanks for dropping by.

Troutbirder - No problem, I feel the same way about the Vikings, especially since Brett something-or-other had his childish tantrums. He's been forgiven by pretty much everyone except me.