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Where did August go?

August 25, 2013
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

Where has August gone? For that matter where did July go? Or June? Summer is over.

And I'm not saying that because of the crazy mild weather we had during the state fair. Hot temps aren't gone for good. In fact, they are forecast to be back before you are reading this in the newspaper this week.

OK, so maybe summer won't be officially over for a few more weeks if you are checking your calendar, but there are natural signs that it is almost fall like the ever-growing flocks of blackbirds and swallows that you see along the roads perched on the adjacent power lines and cornstalks.

Then there are the sounds of cicadas, katydids, and crickets. First, the cicadas start the insect chorus in late afternoon with the ascending zing-zing-zing sound coming from the trees. That's the best way that I can try and describe it. At dusk the male crickets begin rubbing their wings together, dragging a small peg on one wing across a row of ridges on the other. The result is a series of clicks similar to what happens when you click your thumbnail down the teeth of a comb. Only with the crickets the clicks are so fast you don't hear the individual clicks. What you hear is a trill or a chirp.

Finally, the last singers of the day take over and sing till the wee hours of the morning. Katydids are large green insects that are more commonly heard than seen. Katydids resemble a leaf and easily hide within the upper crown of a hardwood tree. They are named for the rhythmic song they sing in late summer. The males sing in quick bursts of two, three or four notes that sort of sound like Kay-tee-did. The sound is a crisp and harsh tone similar to saying the word zit with a prolonged Z sound and abrupt T on the end. Now say it three times in quick succession.

The killdeers that Shannon wrote about a couple of weeks ago are running all over the gravel roads near our house in preparation for migration, but many kinds of shorebirds have already exited this area.

There are a few bird species still nesting, but for the most part, that is over, too. The primary exception to that would be the American goldfinches. They wait until right now to nest thus utilizing the down of the thistles to line their nests.

The sounds of the coyotes to the north and south of my house in the evenings tell me that the pups are nearing adult size and will soon be on their own. Before winter gets here they will need to be.

And with the Scheels 3D Bowshoot held on the Black Hawk Creek Wildlife Area this past weekend, I really got in the mood for fall and bowhunting. The results from the shoot will be posted on the county website I'll plan to tell you how things went and who the winners were in this news column next week.



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