What a difference a rain makes. Brooks from a trickle to a torrent overnight. Our neighbor measured three and a half inches of rain.

Ginkgo trees are unusual in that they often lose all their leaves at the same time. Our butternut tree did that same thing last night but perhaps high wind and not tree physiology is the reason.

Finches aren’t nearly as dependent on insects as most other birds are. They’ve mostly done okay in recent years. It’s the insectivorous birds that have suffered great losses.

Not only are they pretty, but the various goldenrods are used by 122 moth and butterfly species as host plants for their caterpillars. Most birds depend on caterpillars when raising a family.

Raking leaves and cutting down perennials can be a chore. Ecologist Doug Tallamy, suggests that we do as little as possible of both. Birds can eat the seeds over the winter and it’s best not to disturb the many insect pupae that lie among the fallen leaves.

On a tip from a friend, I looked at the trunks of maple trees today and sure enough, I saw maple leafcutter caterpillars poking their front ends out of their sandwiches, looking like small circles of maple leaf climbing upwards,. How peculiar is that?

Maple leafcutter sandwiches are all over the ground and the road. Yellow-rumped warblers seem to be picking them open and eating the contents. Sadly, not enough yellow rumps to put a dent in the population.

Dry as a bone here and these droughty conditions must be especially difficult for those amphibians that need to keep moist to survive. Frog skin has glands that secrete mucous which keeps the fragile skin from drying out and helps the animal draw in oxygen.

Fox sparrows often kick back leaf litter with both feet, just like chickens. Our fox sparrow visitor this morning was also pounding its bill hard into the ground, like a woodpecker might do.