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September 08, 2014

Surf's Up.

It not the coast of Hawaii or South Africa.

This is Holland State Park in Michigan.

Surfers, up and down the coast of this Great Lake and the others, wait for this time of year.

The Big Lakes can get real mean, and that means some big waves.

Thursday was one of those days.

Talking to a couple of the guys, and they not only like the waves, they enjoy the
warm waters, and no swimmers.

Well, I too like the waves and did some body surfing.

Other then the surfer dudes, I had the lake and pretty much the beach to my self.

So many come to the beach to sunbathe, and miss some great swimming time.

Now, this past Wednesday was the perfect beach day.

I haven't seen the little Piping plovers I so often see in September, but I'm still hoping.

September is also a wonderful time to watch for wildlife.

The shores of Lakes michigan and Heron are natural flyways for migrating birds.

Monarch butterflies also follow the shorelines south as a natural flyway.

The shores offer a great marker as they head south, the winds and breeze off the lake also offer easier lift and flight conditions.

Yes, Monarch Migration has started.

I have seen a few Monarchs in my yard.

On my travels.

And along the Lakeshore.

I have definitely spotted more monarchs this year than last.

According to Jim Lovett and Chip Taylor the butterfly population should increase almost two fold from the ALL TIME record low of last year.

A mere 0.67 hectares occupied by monarchs in the 'Oyamel Fir Forests in Mexico.

This year, 1.4 hectares are predicted.

From my little corner, that might be right on. Monarch Watch,

The butterfly population should increase almost two fold from the ALL TIME record low of last year.

A mere 0.67 hectares occupied by monarchs in the 'Oyamel Fir Forests in Mexico.

This year, 1.4 hectares are predicted.

From my little corner, that might be right on.

(A young Bald Eagle from our trip up north last month. You may notice the head starting to change color. I'm guessing a 3 year old bird.)

September is also a time when so many of us begrudgingly start to cut back and clean up our gardens.

When you cut back any plant that has mildew, black spot or other cooties, make sure you through this plant material into the trash, not the compost bin or to decay in place.

You will also want to rake up and pick up any dead foliage on the ground.

Fungus winters over, and you will be worse off next year.

Don't leave the soil bare, however.

Mulched grass and shredded leaves from trees should be placed down and left there.

This natural compost will prevent erosion,

The organic matter protects plants.

Enriches the soil.

Offers cover for toads.

Provides a place for birds to forage.

Next spring, the leaves and small twigs offer nesting material for a number of song birds.

American Goldfinches are filling the yard with movement and of course, the sounds of so many recently fledged Goldies.

Goldfinches are one of the last birds to nest.

The romantic notion that Goldfinches wait to nest so they can use the plant down from thistle plants is a folly.

Goldies are 99.9% seed eating birds.

When does Nature provide all of wildlife with a bounty?

Correct, right now.

Plant down is plentiful from spring to fall, and weeds like Canada and Bull Thistle are introduced and have been around for 200 years at best.

Out west, maybe 50 years or so.

To attract Goldfinches to your yard year round, offer

Feeding Birds Nyjer in special feeders and plant flowers that offer seeds the little birds enjoy.

Sunflower of all kinds.

Coneflowers and Rudbeckia.

Cosmos, zinnias, and Liatris to name a few.

One of the pictures shows a pair of finches feeding on the downy seed of Meadow Liatris.

The same plant that was a magnet for the Monarchs, is now feeding the birds.

You got to love plants that serve double duty.

If you don't have any of these plants, plan for next growing season.

Of course, the hummers are busy feeding from flowers and my feeders now.

All the way to dusk, and in the rain.

I'm happy to see the jewels of the garden.

Glad I am doing my part.

We are in no hurry to see them leave, but we know that is only three weeks away.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week, submitted by Mary Gilman.

Thank you Mary.

God Bless.

"It is always good to know, if only in passing, charming human beings.
It refreshes one like flowers and woods and clear brooks".

George Eliot

A charming human being is like a breath of fresh air.

We should all be a flower, and clear streams.

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these".

Matthew 6:26, 28, 29

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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