Snipes are a good way out on The Stockpond, silhouettes with perfect reflections probing the mud, one freezes in a camouflage crouch even in such obvious view as I walk from one truck to the other past them, and I drive out to the herd.
Air is cool if not cold, the dust I kick up hangs in deep layers over green grass sparkling with dew. While my attention has fully to be on such things as a snaky steer that doubtless is fixing to escape the weaning enclosure, I catch sight of a lowering flock of birds whose flight has a familiar and peculiar gait to it, giving me to think that Western Meadowlarks have arrived to decorate our pastures for the Winter with their flash of yellow, flash of white, their fluting and their whistling. There is not time to drift over the pastures with them.
In the afternoon cooler even than yesterday’s, once that snaky steer gets religion and he comes to be resigned to a new order, “Sweet sweet! Sweet sweet!” notes fall to Earth from that highest, wholly blue sky, and settle like feathers in pendulum-drift down to the cattle’s ears and mine: American Pipits, invisible they are so high, but announcing their own return from some alpine meadow.
A drive around the edge of a pasture deep in grass on my way to see if that 1,000 pound steer had settled in with the two heifers and younger steer also being fenced weaned, the truck scares into the air in front of it whirling and clicking Red-winged Grasshoppers–the largest number yet of this brilliant insect that is the long and lingering Summer itself. But no, Summer is indeed ending: the Blue Grosbeak in its immature browns I see today is to be the last, as will be that Western Kingbird.