Magic Hour

Friday July 30, 2010

It gets hotter in our apartment as the sun goes down.  I'm not sure about the science of it - something to do with the proximity of the lake, I'm sure - but all I know is that just as a nice, cool summer evening is beginning outside, we're starting to sweat.  Evening walks seem like the natural thing to do, but after dinner I often find myself stuck behind the computer trying to finish some bit of writing.  Thankfully on Tuesday night I was already having trouble focusing, so as things got warm and Steve announced he was going to the park, I was quick to tag along.

A Black-crowned Night Heron watches for an evening meal.
I always knew that dawn and dusk were supposed to be great times for birding and general wildlife watching, but I still wasn't ready for the switch that was flipped as the sun went down.  On Tuesday night we saw a Night Heron, a beaver, a mink, plenty of bats and our first Nighthawk, all in the span of about fifteen minutes.  Last night we left earlier to get in some more sightings before the bugs got to be too much, and the results were even better.  There were repeat performances by the beaver, the mink and the bats, plus we realized there were at least three Nighthawks swooping around.  Three turtles joined the show, as did a few large fish, several screeching terns and a male Kingfisher.  But the biggest excitement were the herons.  Both Black-crowned Night Herons and Great Blue Herons aren't uncommon in our park, but the fun was seeing them come out of the woodwork.

Our spot of choice on Thursday faced a small, wooded island in the middle of a pond.  I kept hearing calls from the trees which I was sure was a heron, but neither one of us could spot the ruckus-maker with our binoculars.  As the sun dipped lower a night heron finally flew out of the trees and out across the park, and I was happy the hidden bird was revealed. 

But then they kept coming. 

Every few minutes, by ones and twos, herons emerged from the trees.  While we stood there, no less than eight swept out over the water, all but one taking off to parts unknown.  Eight roosting herons, and we hadn't been able to spot a single one!

Now the challenge is on, of course.  While some nights I'll still need to be at the computer, I have a feeling that for the rest of the summer Steve won't have much trouble convincing me that the work can wait, if only for one magic hour.


  1. Hi, Marilyn,

    I saw your blog and thought I'd connect. It gets hotter where I am at ther end of the day, too. I ascribe it to the gradual increase in the heat over the afternoon, and the inability of the house to shed the heat, so that it stays hotter even when the outside gets cooler. But what do I know?

    I have a screenwriting and writing blog: The Last Reveal. Check it out!

    Lee Matthias

  2. Hi Lee

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. I just a had a look at your blog - interesting stuff! (I love the "Screenwriter's Haiku" you've got in the sidebar!)

    Now I'll have to think of an opening slug to submit for your consideration. :)

    All the best,



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