I shut down the computer and about 30 minutes later we lost power. A big limb of a red oak fell across the powerlines around the corner from our house, which must have caused the outage. When we woke this morning to the sound of a neighbor's generator, we knew the power was still out. Srini powered up our generator so we could get the fridge running for a while and fill up the water bottles. This has become at least an annual event.
Just before the storm moved through yesterday afternoon the temperature was in the low 90s and the air was still. As the clouds swirled and the wind whipped up the trees and the rain fell, the temperature dropped quickly. By the time the clouds cleared the temperature was in the low 70s. Everyone threw open their windows as indoors was now much warmer than the outside air temperature.
My blog post yesterday was going to be about a panting Eastern kingbird that I saw while walking a property in the 90 degree heat. So, here is the story of the hot kingbird. I was checking out a constructed wildlife pond that I've written about before, where I've seen two Blanding's turtles. On Wednesday the turtles were not basking -- too hot for them. Instead I noticed the kingbird sitting on its nest atop a snag (a dead tree) in the water. She or he -- both parents incubate the eggs and they look alike -- was panting, which is one way that birds cool themselves.
Here are some photos of the kingbird on its nest. The last one is a bit fuzzy but you can see the bird panting.
The nest site
The panting kingbird
The eastern kingbird is a common flycatcher that likes open country with scattered perches, such as orchards, fields, wetlands, and forest edges. They are easily identified by their dark gray, almost black, head, back, and tail that is white tipped. The throat and belly are white. The kingbird aggressively defends its nest from predators and its territory from other kingbirds. They have a fluttering, stiff-winged flight and a rapid, stuttering song.
I admire their ability to sit on their eggs beneath a sweltering sun. I'm glad I can seek shade instead.
Our power is still out but the tree trucks are working on the red oak limb. It's cooler today, beautiful really. The kingbird will do less panting today.