April 12th, 2017
The letter is N for Nighthawk
Here, in town, I never see this bird
but my memories recall warm summer evenings on the farm
when a community of Common Nighthawks would swoosh down
the road and through the orchards, gathering up the evening insects
with their white bars flashing as they flew in graceful loops,
their sharp peenot call echoing through the twilight.
So beautiful and impressive - they were a part of our life there.
The Common Nighthawks are slender birds with very long, pointed wings,
and medium long tails.
It is well camouflaged in gray, white, buff and back
with a V shaped white throat and striking white wing bars.
When migrating or feeding over insect-rich areas
nighthawks may gather in large flocks
as they did in our orchard territory.
They are most visible when they forage on the wing
and their call is unforgettable.
At least to me.....
Mostly they fly in the mornings and the evenings.
During the day they roost on a tree branch, a fence post,
or on the ground, where they are most difficult to see.
If they were to follow south along the road for a few
miles they would cross the US/Canada border into Washington State
and do their wonderful acrobatics in the Ghost Town
of Nighthawk which I am sure was named after them.
It is Nighthawk country....
An old mining town from the early 1900's, - it still had a general store
in the 1950's and Charles was friends with the Storekeeper,
but since that time the buildings have fallen into sad disrepair
and as far as I know the surrounding ranchers do their shopping elsewhere.
We are not finished with Nighthawk...
There is a famous painting by Edward Hopper
depicting some night hawks (or owls)
gathered around a table in an all night diner....
and a couple of poems inspired by the painting.
All sorts of planes with Nighthawk attached to them.....
There are numerous (numerous!) bands called "Nighthawk"
but the one that I enjoyed most was a Dixie Land Band.
For more interesting Ns visit here at ABC Wednesday
with many thanks to those who maintain this meme.