Many clues herald autumn’s arrival
Migrating birds, falling leaves, harvested fields
By Roger Pitt
Days are still 24 hours long, but seem a lot shorter with dawn breaking later and the sun setting earlier.
There were other signs of autumn falling on Wisconsin. It officially arrived 3:21 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Heavy rains and winds nearly two weeks earlier cluttered driveways and vehicles left outdoors decorated in leaves. The few surviving apple trees on Pitt Acres laden with red apples, made visible stripped of their leaves.
Last Saturday, a mild breeze emphasized the drop in temperature as my inner thermostat has not yet adjusted from hot weather. As I grow older, it seems heat is less oppressive and cool weather has more of an impact.
Flocks of black birds, and less numerous mourning doves, lined up on utility wires gathering to wing their way to winter grounds — later to be followed by the human snow birds.
The early goose season, to cull native Canada geese that use local ponds and waterways and graze on area crops, has come and gone. It was a productive season as the geese on the neighbor’s ponds multiplied greatly. That added to the interest commuting to the End Stool as they flocked around the ponds and grazed in the yards through summer growing from fledgling to smaller versions of their parents.
Hundreds of geese and sand hill cranes flocked to a recently harvested grain field by Jack Hoag along County X west of New London. Winds and rain had lodged some grain fields.
The number of cranes dwindled in recent days. A group of gray-colored young gathered in a field along County O and exercised their wings with a series of takeoffs and landings. Only two cranes were observed on Monday.
Saturday, I needed to stop my car as about a half dozen turkeys crossed from Pitt Acres to a neighbor’s woods. The day before I needed to stop for a doe and buck crossing from a stand of young pine trees to an opening between two stands of trees.
The fall harvest is in its early stages as making hay and chopping high moisture corn for silage are overlapping.
“They will be switching the heads on the combines from hay to corn,” Dennis Smith said.
Fields along County O had recently cut hay to be baled, while the adjoining corn field had already been partially harvested and trucked to a dairy farm several miles away. Semis, rather than tractor-pulled wagons, now commonly haul crops from the field.
Bob Most made a recent trip to Illinois and took a visual critique on the corn crop and harvest. Most said some corn was being harvested south of the border, including near Bloomington.
“It was high moisture corn for silage — most corn is a grain cash crop, but there are still a few dairy farms left,” he said.
Dick Fritz ended his quest for a buck early in the season bagging a 10-pointer early last week. He was using a cross bow which is now legal for all ages. Initially the cross bow was restricted to handicapped or elderly people.
The joke around the End Stool was several vehicles of hunters were seen parked though the countryside but nobody heard any shots. Maybe that is why bow hunting qualifies as a quiet sport.
With all the noise and distractions we experience daily, a little quiet is welcome.