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                   Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 7:32PM

Harvest time; Hermine remnants; birds returning

By DAN ROBINSON
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Harvest time is a big deal here in the Midwest. The landscape is undergoing a rapid transformation: the corn that has towered along the roads for months is suddenly vanishing as the combines make their sweeping passes over the fields. From the sources I've read, while September and October are the primary months, the harvest is a drawn-out process that can actually linger into December before all of the fields in the region are done. It all depends on the weather - apparently only the corn that is completely dry and brown is game for harvesting - any remaning green stalks aren't ready, and any significant rainfall will postpone the process. Most of the corn around New Baden has been brown for the past couple of weeks, so I'd expect most of it to be gone soon. I'd been wanting to get out and do some photography of the harvest, but with the remnants of TS Hermine hanging around, the prospects of good lighting (namely golden sunsets) have been hard to come by.


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Speaking of Hermine, the fringe remnants of the tropical storm are affecting the St. Louis area this week, although with nothing more than some light rain and a few overcast days. It's a stretch to even classify this weather as tropical-related, as the characteristics of the system are barely remniscent of a tropical cyclone. However, much of this rain and cloudiness would likely not be happening if not for Hermine, so it's technically not too out of line to say we're seeing secondary effects from a tropical storm here in the nation's heartland.

Before Hermine's remnants overspread the area, some post-frontal showers developed on Tuesday evening, with a display of rain shafts at sunset:


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And lastly, the blackbirds/grackles/starlings are returning. I've seen several small flocks around the area for the past month, but in recent weeks, the groups seem larger and more numerous. This is only part of one on Haselhorst Road here in New Baden this afternoon. According to some sources, the fall season's influx of birds will rival or at least equal the activity seen prior to spring.

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