Friday, July 31, 2020
Running northwest for a mile and a half among creosote and saguaros. The setting sun just barely off to the left, so not in my eyes. The sand under my feet is dry and springy, then, when I follow a wash, deep and soft. The dogs are chasing lizards. 7:10 pm and still 109 degrees. Turning back, going southeast now. Thunderheads loom over Wassen Peak. To the right, still building and growing, sharply modeled in bright whites and yellows by the sun that has dipped under the horizon from my point of view. To the left, anvil shaped and floating apart, rain streaking down on the Tucson Mountains or virgos withering away without reaching the ground? Pink and ominous purple. Lightning striking across and seeking the peaks. Above the cold white moon in the still icy blue sky. Night hawks streaking by me, very fast, though their wing beats are slow. I believe that I can hear them slicing the air. Which is getting heavier. I am not running now. The dogs let their slobbering tongues hang. Will those fit back into their mouths? Will they have to curl them around loosely floating brains, woodpecker-like? No. Those tongues will eventually, but not very soon, deflate and shrink again. Back home at 7:30. Still 106 on the patio
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
We live between Saguaro National Park West and the Santa Cruz River. Every evening just before sunset, I run about 2 miles with one of my dogs. Chaco and Kira take their turns in that. On my way home, running south, I always encounter several dozens of Lesser Night Hawks that are moving from their breeding grounds in the Tucson Mountains (including our own backyard) to their nightly feeding area at the river in Marana. They appear like clock work as soon as the sun touches the horizon, and they always all fly in the same direction - north. In May and June, they were usually silhouetted against the sky because they were flying quite high.
Lately, they come in low, dodging saguaros and even me and my dog on their way, and impossible to photograph.
My grandmother in Germany always told me to watch if swallows and swifts were flying high: more sunshine to come. Low flying swallows: rainy days ahead. Now I think it's the bugs that fly high or low and insectivore, on-the-wing-hunting birds are just following suit. The bugs may be influenced by the barometric pressure changes, or the coming rain just brings out different bugs. My grandma was certainly as good as any weather forecaster in the seventies in Germany