Please scroll down to see today's dahlia, Harvest Moonlight, from Swan Island Dahlias.
We're going backwards in time on this post because I wanted to lead off with a photo of the swifts diving into the chimney. I don't have a guess as to how many were there. I wish I'd seen even more of them like I've read there sometimes are earlier in the month. And next time I go to watch, in 2010 hopefully, I ought to remember to put the camera on sport. Bring my tripod and maybe get one of those remote things so that the camera doesn't move with each click. There was a man in front of us, over to the left, who had all of that and a zoom lens like you see at sporting events. I'll bet his photos are amazing!
As sunset neared to signal their finale, fewer swifts remained outside the chimney which meant clearer background skies.
Early on in the final rush, clouds of swifts headed for the chimney.
At some point before the final rush for the roost, the hawk gave up continually twisting his head in all directions, wondering which tasty morsel to grab. He took off for a few seconds' flight, then landed again on the rim of the chimney. The consensus of nearby swift-watchers--he missed.
I couldn't get a photo of one part of the night's event, an astonishing part, so I'll tell you about it. First, think for a moment about those clouds of bees in animated cartoons, the ones where the bees are about to sting someone or something, sort of quickly swirling in sync, this way, now that way. Well, that's what the swifts did, too. I saw two clouds of them, each swirling to their own sync. And I do believe one of those groups took off after the hawk who'd brazenly left the chimney top to shop for a meal in the sunset. He didn't confront them, but sort of flew away as they swiftly went the other way. Later on he flew through a less organized cloud. In fact, I'm wondering if the blur on the right of the chimney in the first photo in this post is the hawk.
The empty chimney--what I saw after I got settled on the hillside, before I started eating my pastrami on challah and potato salad.
Today's dahlia, Harvest Moonlight. Facts from Swan Island Dahlias--Bloom: 10" Yellow, Bush: 4 1/2'