The last few days I have been enjoying the smell of the air from the fragrant basswood that is now blooming, and which is a big attractant of pollinators.

Their average first bloom is July 7, and like most things is a week behind this year.

Berries are now ripening. I’ve been seeing a few blueberries and raspberries.

The hazels are loaded with nuts this year but, like June berries, always seem to disappear the day before they should be ripe.

The wild rice is now blooming, and will be ripe about the time school starts.

The birds are not nearly as vocal as they were, and the days are getting shorter as summer starts to fade into fall.

The meadows are full of color from blooming flowers and butterflies flitting through them. It’s such a colorful time of year.

The deer flies and mosquitoes make me pay for my daily visit. For all the grouse and ducks I saw and heard this spring, I had hopes for this fall; but once again, the mallards moved on and the grouse seem to have failed. I have seen no broods of either this summer.

A few wood ducks and hooded mergansers are all I see sneaking through the shadows of the reeds and cattails.

Our lakeshore used to be mostly grass, and is now overgrown with brush and trees. I’m now wondering how much that is affecting ground nesting waterfowl.

Look at old photos of the area lakes, where there used to be lots of grass. Now it’s either mowed to the water’s edge or heavily forested.

Our forest trails used to be overgrown with grass and clover, and in wet years the mud holes were all but impassable to a four-wheel drive. Now, where it’s not graded and improved to the point that you can take a Cadillac through the forest, it’s been turned to dust and ruts by some fast-moving, noisy destroyer of habitats.

How I long for the days of old and peaceful walks through the forest, flushing birds, and the long-forgotten sound of bills crossing decoys with the speed and sound of fighter jets. There used to be flight after flight. Now you’re lucky to see a flock.

Whatever the reason, it’s looking like another fall better spent fishing and hunting deer.

An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.