Saturday, September 17, 2011
No Overnight Frost
Our favorite local weatherman has been warning all week of an overnight low temperature for last night in the high twenties. Yesterday he softened his prediction and we awoke this morning to find no white grass anywhere in sight. As we were sitting looking out on our still alive garden, a large hawk approached the lawn. With every wing and tail feather spread and erect, the majestic bird silently and rapidly fell toward the ground. Light from the low rising sun illuminated the underside of the hawk. This light phase red tail displayed a golden glow in the morning light. Our motion inside the window might have spooked the hawk as it shifted from its motionless descent to active flight and flew to a perch in a nearby tree.
Seeing a hawk in its dive for prey is something I have always wanted to see. I imagined the bird diving like a bullet with its wings tucked tightly by its side snatching prey as it opened its wings and rocketed skyward. What we saw this morning was nothing like what I expected to see. Wings and tail were motionless but fully spread as the hawk quickly dropped toward the ground. Prey snatch did not happen since we distracted the hawk. We did get to see details in color and markings illuminated by long low morning light. This was likely the best hawk sighting that we will ever experience.
Trying to grow moon flowers, Ipomoea alba, here in zone 4 is a piece of gardening foolishness that we try year after year. Had last night's predicted frost occurred we would have had nothing but dead vine. As it is, our first moon flower buds will likely open. A noisy, to alert feeding skunks of our presence, trip into the garden long after dark will be rewarded with the sight and scent of a newly opened moon flower blossom. Near full moon light tonight will add greatly to this experience.