Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hummingbird Migration Celebration

This post is kind of late, so I apologize.

September 7--9 were the dates of the National Audubon Society's annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Mississippi. If you've read an earlier post I wrote, you'll know how great Strawberry Plains is. It's even greater in early September, when the hummingbirds are getting ready for their long migration to Central America. The Center's feeders are literally buzzing with hummers. It's like a hummingbird fallout!
The Hummingbird Migration Celebration is the biggest Audubon event in the country, partly because it's so close to Memphis, TN, but mostly because it's so much fun. Strawberry Plains almost feels like a different place, with all the people and tents all around. My favorite was the hummingbird banding tent, where you could see hummingbirds being banded while the banders explained how it was done.

The hummingbirds are caught in traps set up around the feeders. They are basically wire cages with doors that can be pulled shut by an attached fishing line. Once the hummingbirds are caught, they are put in little drawstring mesh bags to wait their turn for banding.

The band is very, very small, which is why I didn't get a photo; the camera wouldn't focus. It is pried open and placed in the banding pliers, which are just pliers with tongs on the end in the exact shape and size of the band. The band is then squeezed shut around the hummingbird's leg. Then the hummingbird is weighed, its fat content measured, and then placed in some lucky little kid's hands to be released. It was really cool.

There were plenty of other tents, including one for the Organization for Bat Conservation. There was a program given by the director, about all kinds of bats. He brought some live bats to show the audience, including the largest bat in the world, the flying fox, which is about the size of a large hare. I had only read about them before, so I was excited by this.

Flying Fox, the largest bat in the world.

He had also brought a Malaysian fruit bat and a big brown bat, and gave everyone close-up looks of both. It was pretty awesome.

There were also kids' tents, artwork on display, and, to the excitement of my amateur geologist brother, a rock tent. All of them were very interesting, and the festival itself was fun for all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Changes

 It was officially fall weeks ago, but I've only just started to believe it. Today the high temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. That's pretty cool for October in the South.
The trees have just started changing colors; their leaves portraying just a hint of yellow, orange, or red. It's actually quite pretty. I went with my youth group to Natchez Trace State Park near Jackson, Tennessee last Saturday, and the trees were especially noticeable. I was going to bring my camera, but unfortunately the memory card is used up and I have to wait a while for the new one. But before the memory card complained that it was full to bursting, I was able to take a few photos of some fall changes in our yard:

The leaves are turning (finally)

The persimmons are ripe!

The grass is going to seed...

And finally, I can wear jeans without melting! :D