Harbingers of fall - Goldfinches and Monarchs

In the 90s today, hardly resembling fall.
I’m sitting on the back porch and the first Monarch I’ve seen is on the flowers. A few minutes ago a pair of goldfinches were pulling the seeds out of the fading zinnias.
I always associate both with the start of fall.
I love to paddle Jocassee and watch the Monarchs migrating west but that won’t peak for a few weeks.
The hummingbirds have been draining the feeder at an accelerated rate so I think they are fueling for the trip South.

And the Cardinals are molting. There is a lot to be seen if you aren’t moving.

Had a good turnout of Monarchs last year. This year, lots of other butterfly species, but no Monarchs.

Always have a good turnout of Hummingbirds; Numbers vary from 20 to 35 every year.
We always know when they arrive. They show up at the places where feeders hung the previous year; even if no feeders are up when they arrive.

Had a good turnout of Bluebirds. Our houses fledged 5 broods, a total of 20 new Bluebirds.
Also had 2 broods of Phoebes, 1 of Chickadees, 3 of Wrens, and a plethora of other birds: Cardinals, Doves, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouse, and 5 different Woodpeckers. Always love to hear & see the Piliated Woodpeckers.

What appears to be a family group of Chipmunks established residence in one of our many flower beds. Bold little rascals.


Great photos!

We were in the hills near Yosemite…

There were 10 -15 at this feeder.


It’s 90F there and you’re thinking of autumn? September 22 is your target date this year.

But…I’ve seen a couple of geese formations heading south and some of the trees are showing a hint of color. Temp here in the fresh water boonies is 57F - but will be in the high 70s this weekend (and sunny). Paddle, paddle, paddle! :slight_smile:

I let my beach turn into a milkweed garden. Smells wonderful when in bloom, but not a Monarch seen this year. That makes me sad, but the Loons came back this spring and that makes me happy.

Lots of hummingbirds and Baltimore Oriels at the feeders. Hummers can be ferociously protective about “their” feeder. The Oriels are bigger and pay no attention as they slurp.

Chipmunks are striped rats. They got into a shed here and destroyed all the outdoor seat cushions. But the raptors enjoy them.

I love Fall and am glad to see the heat and humidity gone. In a good year, it can be bright and cool into December.

You guys are making me crazy. Mid 90s here with high humidity and tropical waves, depressions, and storms lining up across the atlantic. Most of the birds are still up north and the kayaks are almost too hot to pick up.
But wait 6 months…

I’ve seen many more monarchs this year than in previous years. Anyone else notice this?

I’ve been wondering if conservation efforts are succeeding, or maybe the weather has been beneficial.

The first ones show up in October. Many show up in November. The hold outs show up after new year’s. Too early for the fall migration. We will know it started when the Québec registered RV s towing cars registered in Florida start showing up.

The butterflies I’m seeing might be Viceroys.

Here in mid-Michigan, I haven’t seen a single Monarch yet this year. We have 4 Butterfly bushes, a half-dozen or so Lobelias, and a few Asclepias in the yard. Back in the day it was butterfly haven here. So far, there have been a just a couple Swallowtails, Silver Spots, Fritillaries, Hummingbird Moths, and a lone Viceroy. Hopefully, by September we’ll start seeing more, but this is usually the peak time for us. On a happier note, the herons and egrets are starting to gather in the marshlands and eat everything in site in preparation for their trek south. The Katydids are in full chorus at night.

While paddling northern Lake Michigan Saturday, saw three Monarchs over the water and one (which I dodged) while driving over. Photoed this gorgeous visitor at the house. The next day while paddling I had a black dragonfly sit on my forearm for about a half a mile. Thought perhaps I had rocked it to sleep.

Nice photo Rookie.

I enjoy dragonflies and damsel flies hitching a ride.

Saw my first Cardinal Flowers of the year last Friday on the Jack’s Fork. That means summers almost gone. Shot a good pic of a Little Green Heron that day also:

Post-script: We finally had one Monarch visit the Butterfly Bush today. Love the picture of the Green Heron, Wilderness Web!

My harbinger of the changing seasons arrived today from the NWS:

National Weather Service
938 AM EDT Thu Aug 31 2017


  • TEMPERATURE…Lower to middle 30s in many inland areas,
    slightly colder in low lying locales.

Oh goody.

The birds get relatively quiet in late summer. Last year I heard quite a few Yellow Billed Cuckoos in August. Hardly any this year. Did get to see and hear some Ravens on Monday up in the Shenendoah National Park. That was a treat.

Rookie, please keep that cold up there for awhile. We can finally go outside without heat stroke.