Happy Labor Day! Hope you are all enjoying the fruits of your labors.
Last night we got the first cold front of the season, though it was a dry cold front. You know it's September in Texas when the weatherman is describing a forecast with a high in the low 90's as "nice" and "pleasant" and "fall-like weather."
The extreme dryness continues, though. The cold front brought cooler weather, but also dry air and high winds. Yesterday it smelled smoky outside, and I hoped that meant a neighbor was grilling for the weekend, but burning grass smells differently than grill charcoal. The local news confirmed my suspicion. In fact, it seems that there are wildfires burning all over the place, with an especially bad one in Bastrop. Pine forests are very fire-prone ecosystems. The Lost Pines are beautiful, but I don't think I'd ever want to live there, with how many fires they seem to have.
Saturday we put up a second bird feeding station in the back yard, with a seed feeder, suet feeder, and birdbath. I also put out some fruit in the front yard to see if that attracted any critters. If nothing else, I would think they might appreciate some nice juicy fruits for the moisture. The apples were gone in one night, probably chomped up by raccoons or opossums, but the oranges are still out there.
This morning I saw a bird eating out of one of the orange halves. At first its black back was turned to me, so I thought it was yet another European starling. I'm having a lot of trouble with huge flocks of starlings gobbling up all the suet and chasing the native birds away. But this turned out to be no starling, but a native bird I had never seen before!
That means having feeders set up is basically a roadside diner for birds. Having a variety of food helps too. Some birds prefer seeds, while others like suet, and now I've discovered others like fruit. I'd better make sure to keep them well-stocked. I went ahead and put out another fresh orange, and a peach that was getting a bit mushy.