August 2012

8/1    Full Corn Moon in a month with two full moons! The next one will be once in a blue moon.

8/2    A day in the swamp: Green frogs plucking banjo strings tuning up for the chorus. Every 20 minutes or so the cadence rises and rhythms quicken, the chorus gets louder, faster, more urgent, and after a minute the plunking slows and the pond is quiet again with occasional plunks and plinks; cicadas rapid rattle; dragonflies silently cruise and sparkle; a gentle, warm breeze floats by.

8/11   The Perseid meteor showers provided quite a show with over 100 shooting stars an hour!

8/12   The Perseids really were great this year, even if we didn’t see anything close to 100 an hour on this past-the-peak night. Jean and I spent a half hour or forty minutes looking up and saw six or eight including a lovely greenish one. About 11:30pm we decided to go in. Just as we were getting ready to do so, one of the most brilliant meteors either of us had ever seen passed almost directly overhead, heading from east to west and leaving a long sparkly trail behind it. Of course that meant we had to sit down again and see what more was in store, but the show was over for us. Fifteen minutes passed with not a single additional sighting. — Dave Ehnebuske

8/12   Last week in the late afternoon we looked out of our window to see if a raccoon had perched itself in the hollowed-out notch of a tree where it occasionally sleeps. To our surprise there were two adults and they were unusually active. A short while later, several kits or cubs appeared. They were playful, climbing over each other and moving up and down to the next highest limb. Eventually they all began to climb down. The kits led the way coming down head first until they dispersed in the brush below. It was too shady and the view was too hindered by foliage to take any photographs. We ate dinner late that day. — George and Kaye Baum

8/14   The Invasive Plant Walk sponsored by the Kent CAC started at the Nimham Mountain Multilple Use Area on Nichols Road, in search of the top ten invasive plants in our area. Alas, before leaving the parking lot several were found. This makes sense of course, as invasive plants follow disturbance whether in the form of foot prints, snow plows, car tires or bird droppings. Also on view were two plants to be watching out for. They were dug in Westchester County and destroyed after the hike: Japanese Stiltgrass and Mile-a-Minute Weed. What are the top ten? Phragmites, Japanese Barberry, Winged Euonymous, Multiflora Rose, Purple Loosestrife, Oriental Bittersweet, Garlic Mustard, Mugwort, and Japanese Knotweed.

It was a most pleasant walk despite the topic, with a delightful warm breeze of “bee-fried“ air and late summer fragrances and colors. Also admired on the walk were the strange parasitic Dodder with its twining bright orange stems, Partridge Pea, and immense, beautiful Pokeweed berries just beginning to purple up.

8/15   I just saw a bobcat pass through my backyard, not six feet from where I was standing. I had heard that there was a sighting of a female with little ones last spring on Miller Hill Road, but I’m on East Boyd’s Road and this is the first time I’ve seen one here. It was very exciting, but then I don’t get around much. — Ilene Thompson

8/23   Is it the end of summer or early fall? The Touch-Me-Nots are as tall as I am, the roadside colors are purple, blue, yellow, and white: Loosestrife flowers are purple, the Chickory blue, Goldenrods yellow, and Queen Anne’s Lace white; the Red Oak acorns are beginning to fall, the Nannyberries are turning blue-black, the Spicebush berries are ripening red, and grapes are big but still green.

8/24   The daytime chorus of crickets tinkle and hum, the nighttime chorus of katydids is deafening.

8/30   Full Blue Moon (the second full moon this month).

Found on the road along Deer Hill Court, a beautiful young of the year ring-necked snake. A real beauty, the ring-neck has a smooth, slate back and a bright orange belly. Once common, seeing this snake species is unusual. Unfortunately, it never made it across the road.

Ring-neck snake in roadSadly, this little guy never made it to the other side — Photo by Beth Herr

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