Change is definitely in the air

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It’s late August, when the normal average high temperature each day is 84. After a few brief flirtations with 80 recently, the next week looks to be 88 plus. Late summer in Tidewater.

At this Dog-Day time, some meditations are in order:

Hummingbirds were late arriving (at our house, anyway), but they’re everywhere and everywhen now.

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Goldfinches have stayed here and stayed bright yellow all summer — a first hereabouts in our memories.

Cicadas: The 17-year plague we warned about this spring was also slow arriving, but now it’s hard to hear oneself think. They’re LOUD.

We have been down to Cape Hatteras about 10 times this year. We have not seen a single bottlenosed dolphin. They must be there — perhaps well offshore — but there are none along the beach. Wonder if it’s a water quality issue.

Beautyberry is coming into its purple berry stage. How beautiful, as well as being great for pollinators.

We’re enjoying the end of the butterfly season. Before long, there will be only sulphurs left.

Lightning bugs: What happened to them? I stayed up until 9:30 p.m. recently and never saw one. The granddaughters were catching 30 an hour earlier this year.

Time to plant the fall garden — spinach and kale and collards and arugula and broccoli and…. The stuff that’s really good for you.

Tropical storms: “June, too soon; July, will try; August, a must; September, remember; October, all over.” Is it any wonder there are three out there this week? August is a must.

Leaves are already falling, and the dogwoods, which have shown their beautiful white, then green, are turning to their fall rust red leaves with bright red berries.

Here are a few things we are eagerly anticipating.

Apples and apple picking: Do we really have to wait until late September?

Rockfish: Remember to have your licenses in order. And check the seasons.

Picking crab meat in front of a football game. Or even a playoff or World Series game.

Fires and roasting oysters in the fire pit. We’ve watched oysters being harvested all summer. Now it’s time for us to eat our share.

Lack of tourists on the Outer Banks. I know they’re good for the economy, but….

And finally, a flannel shirt when it’s cool outside. Because that shirt is soft and worn, and because it’s time for a change of seasons.

I grew up in the Bahamas. ‘Nuff said.

Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at