I have a habit of getting up somewhat early each morning and stepping out on my front porch to sip my coffee, leaving that dream state slowly behind, before coming fully awake. It’s usually quiet, except for the early birds, and the morning air is still cool. October, in central Florida, is the beginning of our fall season. Unlike the northern states, where there is a definite chill and the leaves begin to take on their fall colors, our season change is relatively subtle. Mainly, our daytime high temperatures fall into the mid-eighties, with lower humidity levels, and cool night-time temperatures approaching sixty degrees. After the long, hot summer, it is a welcome respite.
This morning, I watched a pair of Cardinals, flitting from tree to tree, and a lone red-headed woodpecker checking out the Oak. We’ve had a large group of Red-shouldered Hawks in the neighborhood recently, but it was a little early to hear their high-pitched calls. Suddenly, I heard a relatively loud thump, and when I looked, I noticed that a Hawk had swooped down and fell upon a squirrel. The Hawk must have hit the ground fairly hard to create a thump, so I wondered if he miscalculated. He sat there for quite some time before he took flight with his prize. Poor squirrel, but I guess a Hawks gotta eat [sigh].
Several months ago, I was surprised to see a Swallow-tailed Kite for the first time ever. I’m always amazed at what the morning brings.