The last of the aromatic asters are in full bloom right now and they are absolutely bustling with butterflies, skippers, flies and bees. Everytime Becker or I or one of the cats gets near enough to brush part of the plant, clouds of insects briefly arise, then settle peacefully back down again.
Along the creek, the white of the poison ivy berries really stood out, highlighted by the sun against the dark green of the redcedars and the elm and hedge leaves. A few bright red leaves remained, demonstrating again how important it is to be careful about picking up leaves for their color in Kansas!
Speaking of redcedars, too, the blue of the "berries" on this heavily laden tree seemed to bring the blue of the sky down within touching distance for us Earth-bound mortals.
Before I headed out back to the pasture, I sat for a while on one of my stone benches and looked around to see what birds were active. A song sparrow, a flicker, some blue jays, and a couple cardinals were busy, as were a bunch of yellow-rumped warblers (fondly also known as butterbutts) flitting through the treetops. For a while I even got to watch through the binoculars as a butterbutt greedily chowed down on poison ivy berries. I wonder where those new plants will get deposited!
Finally making it out to the back 5, I had to stop several times along the path to de-seed my socks - the threeawn grass (Aristida sp.) has been giving me numerous demonstrations of how it likes to travel and burrow in through the action of its long awns. Here's a closeup of one of the seeds, half screwed into my sock....
...and here is a picture of one of the entire plants, corraled between my socked foot and my clogged foot. They're not very impressive plants and they are easy to overlook, at least if their seeds aren't ripe. The seeds can actually cause harm to the mouths of livestock through their burrowing activities. Threeawn grass is an annual that moves in to overgrazed pastures - I have much less of it than I used to, but it's far from gone.
On my way back to the house, I focused my binoculars on the first white-crowned sparrow I've seen this fall. (I've heard quite a few singing, "Old Sam Peabody-Peabody-Peabody," in the yard, so I knew they were back, but this was the first I'd seen.) I've started putting out my feeders, but I still have to get some fresh black oil sunflower seed and disinfect the platform feeders; then I'll be seeing these guys in the backyard, right off the deck.
It was a gorgeous day for a walk, so I'm glad that I listened to Becker's preferences. I'm sure he'll be happy to keep reminding me every morning now!