My daughter and I were sitting out on the front porch with the dog at our feet when out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed them — silhouettes soaring overhead against the backdrop of fading blue sky, their bent wings trembling in the clear air of eventide.
“Nighthawks!” I whispered, pointing out the darting forms.
“Look at all of them,” my daughter said. “There must be ten or twelve at least.”
“More than that,” I mused. “Maybe twenty.”
We left the comfort of the chairs and descended to the front walk. The sky was full of them, flitting back and forth, their white wing bars flashing in the evening sunlight.
“What are they doing?”
“Feeding, I imagine.”
“I didn’t know insects flew that high.”
We watched their aerial acrobatics for fifteen minutes before they soared off, still pursuing their invisible prey.
“I’ve never seen so many at one time before.”
“I have — in springtime, above the river before it drops into the gorge. They’re probably preparing for the fall migration. Soon the hummingbirds and hawks will follow.”
Early signs of autumn amidst the close fading days of summer.