Thursday, June 11, 2009

Unexpected Delights

Just a quick post this evening. I waited until nearly sunset to take Rosie for a walk tonight, since it was windy and stormy when I got home. I nearly let myself ignore the clearing skies, but I knew the dog really needed to get out, so I got on my shoes and grabbed her leash.

Wasn't I pleasantly surprised when I stepped out the door! Instead of the humid, 90-degree weather we've been having here lately, it was cool and damp, but somehow less humid. Okay, it was probably just as humid, but the temperature was probably in the 60s, so it felt completely different.

In spite of the damp ground, which tends to make the gravel from the path stick to Rosie's paws and belly--she has such a perky little trot--I headed to the park to let her sniff her way around. When we got there, I first noticed the picturesque steam rising from the pond, creating a romantic atmosphere for the two pairs of ducks cruising around the water. The resident great blue heron was comfortably ensconced on the little raft in the middle, hunkered down as he watched us circle him at a distance.

As we passed the woodline along the back side of the pond, I heard a donkey braying. The woods are only about 50 yards deep, ending along a cow pasture. We can hear the donkey from our house when he really gets going, but I hadn't heard him for several months, so I was happy to know he's still around.

Approaching the far end of the pond, I saw a small form moving on the bank near the water. "Ooo, maybe it's that bird I saw the other day." It was--a medium-sized wading bird, light brown with white mottling, grey legs and beak. At least, I think that's what it looks like. As it did the other day, it took off before I could make out much more in the dim light. I thumbed through my ancient Audubon guide when I got home, but couldn't find a match to the details I thought I'd saw. Well, hopefully it'll be back, and I can get a better look at it.

Continuing along the far end, then, I started to see spots. Yellow spots. Yellow, sort of blinking spots. Fireflies! Yay, they're back!! The past two years, I've seen just a few of them, in the deepest shade of the passage into the park, but it was a thin, sparse population compared to the numbers I chased about our open fields in Ohio three decades ago. I know that fireflies are struggling to survive amidst all the pesticides we humans have been spraying and spreading. And I'm sure the drought didn't help their numbers any more than it's helped the mosquitos. But, even if the mosquitos are back, it's nice to know those lovely summer nightlights are back, too.

Finally, as we headed out of the park area, we were serenaded by an owl. I wish I knew what kind; the only hoot I recognize is the barred owl's "who cooks for you?" This was a single, falling "hooooot"--a southern drawl of a hoot, I guess. Even Rosie cocked an ear.

Well, that's all I wanted to share with you all this evening. But isn't it nice to know that, even in a suburban housing development, Mother Nature finds her way in?


  1. the wading bird was a crane or heron? sure sounds like a nice park if all those wildlife are thriving. it has been in the 90's? durn. We have delightful (rainy) summers up here in the hills. We pay in the wintertime but the summers sure are nice. I grew up in Raleigh so I know all about the heat and humidity.

  2. Oooh! So magical!
    We don't have those lightning bugs here in New Mexico. I sure do miss seeing them sometimes.

    Wonderful perspective taking the photo from that vantage point.


  3. Okay, forgive me... semi random comment...

    A few years ago my daughter and I were enjoying an evening in our spa outside. We were talking about UFOs and other phenomena of the spooky space genre. I told her about the time I think I saw UFO's in the sky. At the time, I was much younger and also swimming. But I was with two other "mature" ladies and they saw the same weird unexplained shenannigans in the sky. Freaky. Anyway... Adrian and I were talking about strange lights in the sky when all of the sudden there were these three blinking lights in the sky. They kept hopping around, but were blinking non stop. We looked at each other with dropped jaws and got super scared! I mean... blinking lights in the sky???

    Turns out it was just a few fireflies on the screen.

    Boy. How dumb were we?

  4. Fireflies are the greatest! The first time I took my godson to Ohio, he was 6 years old. At age 12 he STILL talks about the fireflies. FABULOUS picture.

  5. What a beautiful picture! Come to my blog and pick up the Kreative Blogger Award. I am writing it now so it should be there after 5 PM today.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful walk! There used to be so many more fireflies a few years ago than there are today. I miss them!


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