Special guest post by Alison Taylor
I have been spending more time in my screened-in gazebo this summer. Not only during the evening cocktail hour, but as day turns to night. It is one of the best times to sit back, listen, and watch the show.
There is that magic time when the sun sets and the daytime creatures tuck into bed and the nighttime creatures wake up.
The crickets get going first, then the creepers and tree frogs. Next, the whip-poor-will calls out….and if he is close by, he goes on and on and on. Anyone who has heard one knows exactly what I mean. They are very difficult to see as they are masters of camouflage, but you can’t miss their call. Around our place, they like chatting with their friends and we often hear them calling back and forth in the night.
As I sit still and listen to the nighttime symphony, you can also tune in to all the bugs that are busy buzzing in the night (definitely glad to be in a screened enclosure!) I’m not sure what different species there are–not a real bug lover–but I can confirm the mosquitos are alive and well.
The best part of the evening is the call of the Great Horned Owl. We also have a few in the area that like to chat with each other. I find their call peaceful and soothing, not like my whip-poor-will friends. When you hear the owls, you get to know each has a distinctive call and they do sound like wise owls as they calmly chat with each other. I wonder what they are saying?
This week’s #HappyAct is to eavesdrop on nature at that special time from dusk to dark the next time you are in the country. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Editor’s note: We are very lucky to have several owl species in Eastern Ontario. While Alison may be hearing Great Horned Owls, she may also be hearing the popular Barred Owl, which is famous for its “who cooks for you” call. If you are ever lucky enough to see these shy magnificent creatures, the Great Horned Owl has yellow eyes and tufts of feathers protruding above the eyes, to make it look like they have horns. Barred owls have brown eyes and no tufts. This is a picture of a barred owl I took at Lemoine’s Point Conservation Area–not a great picture, but he was still a handsome fellow. You can see the difference between him and the Great Horned Owl, pictured below. Happy hooting!