Sometimes it feels like my reports from my frequent Potter County, PA trips begin to take on the tone of Garrison Keillor’s News from Lake Wobegon (where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.) Let’s see what early Spetember holds in that untouched, unspoiled, untamed wilderness the locals like to call God’s Country

My mother-in-law Ann’s spread sustains flocks of feeder birds. The highlight this weekend was a juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak with just a thumbprint of blush adorning its breast. Ann suspects that this is the progeny of the pair that stop in every spring.

Just a touch of rose on that breast

Bobolinks and blackbirds may have quit the fields but Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are holding on, at least until the hollyhocks die back.  Savannah Sparrows are now dominant in the tall grass, bearing witness to fall migratory birds and butterflies.

This Monarch does not appear to have another thousand miles in him!

Up at the higher altitudes where my father-in-law Will resides, Chipping Sparrows have not yet given way to the inevitable American Tree Sparrows. Black-capped Chickadees roam in unruly packs while Eastern Bluebirds perch on every convenient wire or hay bale.

The dominant color in many Eastern Bluebirds is actually rust

The only flycatcher on the hill these days looks to be Eastern Phoebes, some of them showing the shaggy plumage of youth. Warblers are, for the most part, just passing through; we caught glimpses of Magnolia and Black-throated Green in transit. Yellow-rumped Warblers, however, look like they’ll stick around a while.

Yellow-rumped Cape May Warbler

My prize sighting for Labor Day Weekend 2009 was a gang of Ruffed Grouse crossing Will’s dirt road. Since I’ve only ever seen two or three in my life, the five that strutted, stalked, and flew by really pumped up my total. The fancy males didn’t stick around to be admired but one tufted hen hung back for photos.

Ruffed Grouse

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.