Fall Hummingbirds and Surprise Lilies

Fall officially begins on Friday and I can already feel it in the air. We have had a few cold fronts that actually cooled off the nights enough to turn off the AC.  You don’t need a weatherman or calendar to let you know the best season is here, just the plants and the birds.  The summer garden is done, the muscadines ripe and dropped and the sugar cane is taller than my topknot.  The plant that really tells me fall is here is the bright red spider lily that some call the surprise or hurricane lily.  It pops up out of nowhere and in my yard there is always a new one or two not near enough to be propagated by last years. 

Surprise Lily

The cardinal flower is another.  I have a friend that calls it the summer’s end flower.  Its cardinal red also gives a spurt of color to the forest that will slowly lose its leaves throughout the fall months.

The birds are harbingers of the seasons too.  You can look in Dr. George Lowery’s book, Birds of Louisiana and see a list that shows which are here when...or better yet you can go out doors and look.  The blue-winged teal are here, the blackbirds are flocking, the warblers are leaving, and best of all the hummingbirds are flocking, or better put, there is a charm of ruby-throated hummingbirds in my backyard.  
When my one hummingbird brought in two, then three then more friends I got out my extra feeders. For eight days I have had six feeders out and the one by the kitchen window has had fifteen birds within inches of it at one time.  

Eleven Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds at my kitchen feeder.

I am estimating seventy-five birds in my back yard.  This will last for a few more days, then groups of them will head off to the south.  I clean the feeders, store them, enjoy the cool air and watch the leaves slowly fall, for fall is in the air.