Night noise

The three resident Red squirrels (and I do hope they are not in residence in any of my structures!) were in a noisy twit by the Sugar maple. I went to the porch for a look. It was that period of time mysteriously called nautical twilight — roughly 9:00 to 9:30 pm these days — by the website I use to check on the sun and the moon. I scanned in the dying light for the squirrels, but saw instead on a branch of the Sugar maple just off the porch the silhouette of a Great-horned owl. I could not make out his facial features, but he turned his head nearly 360 degrees, as owls can. I slipped inside for my bins but he took off before I returned exiting, as owls can, in complete silence.

His departure allowed the squirrels to go the sleep. The relative quiet of crickets and frogs singing their evening songs suited the complete silence of the June bugs. Nautical twilight and a waxing crescent moon provided enough light for a meadow stroll. Do the June bugs like certain parts of the meadow better than others, I wondered. In general, I’d say the population of June bugs is down, perhaps because I have been killing them in their grub stage as I’ve been digging in up grass to reduce the lawn.  As I was coming to the conclusion they liked the less dry areas of the meadow better than the Little bluestem grassland, the Great-horned owl swooped across the meadow headed for the forest. If I had not seen him — this time just his in flight form — I never would have known he was there.

Nautical twilight was giving way to astronomical twilight, but the deck of the folly reflected the moonlight. I stopped by to reconsider the distribution of June bugs in the meadow. Now it seemed there were as many June bugs in the bluestem as anywhere else in the meadow. A deer I could not make out brayed somewhere near the wall and the stream. Time to head home.

Back in the house, it’s night. From here the sounds include moths bumping into lights, the occasional car passing, crickets and frogs calling. One night earlier this week, I woke up to the wails of distress. I must call 911, I thought, until I came to enough to remember that I was neither in NYC nor DC, and the cries were not human calls for help. Somewhere just off the porch, a creature was meeting its end at the jaws of another creature, likely a coyote or a Fisher cat. Too bad the meal wasn’t a Red squirrel, although without the squirrels, I would have missed the Great-horned owl.

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4 comments
  1. Nancy Pontone said:

    Walk in the meadow Looking for owls and June bugs Perhaps at twilight

    See you in August.

    Love, Nancy

    On Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 10:12 PM, Meadow Restoration wrote:

    > Susan Marcus posted: “The three resident Red squirrels (and I do hope they > are not in residence in any of my structures!) were in a noisy twit by the > Sugar maple. I went to the porch for a look. It was that period of time > mysteriously called nautical twilight — roughly 9:00 t” >

  2. Karen Asher said:

    Last night I was woken up by the most fearsome howls and shrieking. I said to my husband, what in the world was that? He thinks it was a fisher cat and some animal meeting its end. Lots is going on out there, mostly we are unaware of it until we pay close attention.

  3. Anne Raver said:

    Wonderful essay about the red squirrels leading to the owl…and your twilight walk…and the owl again…and the June bugs…and the folly reflecting the moonlight…and then the cry in the night. I know those cries from our Maryland times…
    it’s lovely to read these. Thank you.

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