Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of Fall here in the Northern Hemisphere.

The sun's path across the sky has been moving steadily south since the Summer Solstice, the first day of Summer back on June 20th. 

It has been easy to notice lately that days are getting shorter. The sun is rising later and setting earlier than it did during the summer months. Temperatures are cooling off too.

The shorter days and cooler temperatures mean lots of birds are on the move now. Our summer bird visitors have headed south for the winter. The White-winged Doves and Hooded Orioles left our yard a couple of weeks ago, headed to their winter homes. They will be replaced by our winter residents: White-crowned Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers are the two most numerous in our yard.

We will be keeping all of our feeders well-stocked, to welcome the snowbirds back and to help the travelers as they pass through.

Back in June we posted a picture of sunset on the day of the Summer Solstice, when the sun is at its farthest point north in the sky. Here is a photo of the sunset today, looking due west. The sun's movement to the south is definitely noticeable. It will continue moving south until the Winter Solstice in December.

Looking West - Sunset on 09.22.12  (Autumnal Equinox)

Sunset on 06.20.12  (Summer Solstice)

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

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