We finished up hummingbird banding the end of September and have had a few stragglers migrating through, but for the most part, our yard is down to the resident Blue Throat and Magnificent that winter here. A couple of Broad Billed and Broad Tailed hummers are still feeding now and then and a female Lucifer was here for a couple of days! The last day of Hummer Banding a couple of the birds decided to linger on my finger rather than fly away immediately. It was quite a change from having a large hawk perch on my gloved hand, but the interaction with any bird is exhilarating for me.
Bud's knee is feeling good again, so we're going to resume hiking very soon. It's a good time of year for hiking and we'll be getting a permit to cut some firewood in the mountains too. We scouted the area around Rustler Park last week for firewood and there is a lot of downed stuff that can be harvested. Among the wildlife in the mountains we saw 4 large groups of wild turkeys, many Coues Whitetail deer, but no bears. Luckily this wet monsoon has provided a lot of acorns and juniper berries for the bears, so they have not been a problem in the valley like they were last year.
This year we harvested peaches, apples, pears, pomegranites, plums & persimmons from trees in our yard without competition from the bears.
We do have to be diligent about watching for skunks in the yard before letting the dogs out. The skunks are pretty habituated to humans, so they don't run when we go outside, and if Mr. Brown isn't restrained, he tends to run after them and has been on the receiving end of the skunk spray 3 times! He hasn't learned that his actions caused the unpleasant experience. We are glad to see that the skunks seem to have learned to stand their ground and Brown will not approach too closely if they don't run. I wouldn't expect that to be a sure thing, but so far we've watched two encounters where Brown approached a skunk, but stayed back and came away from it when we called him. :)
The days are getting short and the nights have been a bit chilly lately, so Fall is in full swing. Leaves are changing color slowly and beginning to fall. Next weekend is Octoberfest here in Portal and this will be the first one we have been involved in, so we're looking forward to another fun community event. The Forums started last week with a talk about Machu Picchu by Carol Simon & Howard Topoff. Such a diverse community of knowledgeable people to learn from. I've joined a writer's club too and have been inspired by some of the successful authors who live here and share their knowledge.
As the winter residents (human & animal) return to Portal, the activities never stop! There is always something to do. The Sandhill Cranes are returning now too, so we will be monitoring their activity for the next few months.