End of Summer

End of summer has come to Nahant Marsh. With the quiet passing of the equinox, autumn has come. The cool mornings of this season pull strands and clouds of fog from the water—the surface steams with the breath of fall. Misty mornings come a bit later every day. Goldenrod, asters and boneset, flowers of fall, bloom in the prairie meadows. Gold is showing everywhere. The green seems weary.

Already the birds have been gathering themselves into their groups. Huge flocks of blackbirds have been gathering each evening at the marsh for some time now. Canada geese by the dozens have been arriving and taking off.

The mudflats of the drought baked summer are ankle deep or more in welcome water now. The thick growth of arrowhead and sedge that clothed the mudflats now stand in inviting water—that has lately come alive with wood ducks. Perhaps a hundred or more, far more than the usual number of resident wood ducks.

Perhaps the thick growth of flooded sedges are the place to be for any area wood ducks and many have come to enjoy this place. Perhaps the more northern wood ducks are already moving down the flyway and joining together. Whatever the reason, to see so many wood ducks in one place is quite remarkable.

I have no doubt that the fall travelers will be arriving daily at the marsh. The time of the fall migration is an interesting time along the Mississippi flyway. The birds of summer have not yet left—there is plenty to eat at the marsh, no reason to leave yet. Egrets and herons snack their way around the edge and flocks of swallows dance over the surface of the water. The wood ducks fuss around under cover of the sedges.

The two sandhill cranes have not yet moved on, either. They come and go as they please, and I never know when they will surprise me by stopping by Nahant Marsh for a while. I expect that one day they’ll be gone until end of winter. Time is passing and the light is waning. Go enjoy it while you can.

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