Monday, October 6, 2014

Memories and Nighthawks

Time is a funny thing. I can remember events, the people that were there, the weather, everything - except the date. I have trouble remembering dates. This is one of the big reasons that I am not allowed to pay the household bills. We would be foreclosed - not for lack of funds but for late payments. I don't know how old anyone is unless I figure out how old my mother is, subtract 20 to get to my age, and then add or subtract accordingly to get to Connie or Di's age, and then add or subtract again from there to get to that person's age.  Alzheimer's? Memory loss? Not unless I have had this since I was 6 years old (which I just calculated to be 1969). 

Connie and I have traveled quite extensively. You have read about some of it through this blog but we traveled before the Internet too - to places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and Norway. I can't tell you what year any of those took place. I can get close but . . . 

And so it goes with bird events. I can remember the first time I saw many of the 856 species of birds that I have on my life list. I can remember extraordinary events like the time that we saw about a hundred Red-eyed Vireos fly out of one little shrub. How did they all fit in there? It was like watching clowns get out of a VW Bug at the circus. We called it the "Clown Car" and still talk about it today. Or the time that we saw the Ivory Gull in the marina. I can remember everything about those events except the date. 

And so it was the other evening while I was walking Roxy at our local park after work. I looked up and saw about 40 Common Nighthawks darting, fluttering and swooping just above the treetops and remembered that I had seen this event once before - at Pennypack Trust. I can remember the massive numbers of Nighthawks swarming the fields but I tried to remember what time of year and came up blank. I suppose it was fall but who knows. 

Common Nighthawks are part of the Nightjar family. They sleep during the day and then fly around at dusk catching insects in flight. This gang of 40 were obviously fueling up on bugs in order to head south as a group overnight.  You can always tell a nighthawk because of their white "wristbands" which are easily seen here. 

Nighthawk
Now that I have this blog, I can look up dates of events by re-reading some of the posts. Ask me about the time that we were in Texas and saw a relative of the Common Nighthawk called Chuck Will's Widow. I can tell you the date. You can re-read it here Frau Blucher story.  
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