I was racing the sun and stuck behind a slowpoke. Each minute, each second, I crawled behind the dark sedan; I lost another ray of sunlight. I cast an anxious eye to the horizon as I crested yet another hill heading toward the Liberty Loop trail at the Wallkill. Although it is not far from my house, tonight the trip seemed to last forever. Yes, I had decided spontaneously. Yes, I had waited rather too long. But still. “Why, oh Why, are they always in front of me,” I wailed.
I finally pulled into the parking lot fully expecting to be by myself, as is often the case, to find 5 other cars bellied up to the bar, as it were.
I stumbled from the car, hastily pulling on heavy gloves and a hat with earflaps. Stomping up the snowy path with booted feet, I hoped that the 2 pair of socks I was wearing would be enough this time. After exchanging pleasantries, and accepting an offer to peer through a scope at a Bald Eagle, I settled down to wait. We all scanned the marsh, side-to-side, front-to-back, side-to-side, front-to-back, then turned and did the same across the street. I held my breath at each ghostly pass of the harriers working the marsh in the gathering gloam. The sun slipped beyond the hill turning the shadows to midnight blue. The transition came quickly. One minute, they were Harriers and the next they had magically turned into Short-eared Owls. As if, as if, the Harriers had thrown off their daytime disguises to reveal their nighttime nature.
It is a crepuscular magic that I never tire of.