Beating the summer heat

The unofficial start of summer kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, but where I live, we’ve already seen triple temperatures. Bleh. This no longer counts as springtime to me. Some of my friends love the hot weather. I do not. Though I was raised in a place of heat and humidity, summer is not my favorite season. It’s not even my second-favorite season. Life in California—with its cloudless days, searing heat, lack of shade, and rattlesnakes—has bumped summer down to my least favorite season.

As a runner, I find myself getting up earlier and earlier to dodge the baking sun and rising temps each morning. Yesterday, desperate to avoid a repeat of Monday’s too-hot, too-late-in-the-morning run, I found a handy tool that tells you when the sun will rise and set where you live. (Just for fun, I’ve set it to show times for Daphne, Alabama. You can type in your own city/town and see how it changes for today. Drag the daily line along to see how it will lengthen until June 21 and then begin to shorten. Type in a place south of the equator, and you’ll see the opposite effect.)

I’m not the only one trying to find ways to beat the heat. Western screech-owls have returned to nest in the box on our house, and a couple of evenings ago, I looked outside to see this:

A thirsty owl

An owl sat perched in the waterfall of our backyard koi pond. I didn’t want to scare it away, especially because the fish didn’t seem concerned about its presence. I grabbed the camera and took some shots from inside the house.

It dipped its beak into the water several times, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t hungry for fish but thirsty for water.

Bugs pestered the owl nonstop, and it tickled me to see the camera capture the owl’s shake of its head as it tried to get the bugs to go away. (By the way, I think owls’ heads are some of the most amazing things in all of creation.)

Having the owls come back year after year is one of my favorite delights of the season, and I’m happy to provide a thirsty owl with a drink of water on a too-hot day.

A slightly damp owl

I haven’t seen the owlet yet but will update you if I do.

In the meantime, is summer your favorite season? How do you like to beat the summer heat?

5 thoughts on “Beating the summer heat

  1. Pingback: The fledgling, the feline, and the fiend | The Flourishing Tree

  2. WOW!! I’m so jealous of your amazing luck not only to have this returning owl but to capture it hanging around the koi pond! I can’t wait to see the owlet! = )

    I do love summer but the older I get the more I sit on the front porch when the July heat comes around. I think it should be the official summer activity. I would surely win a gold medal. = )

    • I’m not sure sitting on the front porch will ever be an Olympic sport, but it is something I enjoy when the weather is nice.

      We are very fortunate to have the owl box and an owl couple that enjoys using it each year. Nest Watch (sponsored by Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology) is a great site for learning how to build a variety of bird boxes suitable for your home. Maybe you’d like to add one to your home and see what comes to roost? http://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/

  3. Hope, these are some amazing photos you have taken of the owls in your yard! Is this the first year you have seen them come out and sit on the waterfall of your pond? Amazing!!!!

    • Yes, this is the first year I’ve seen an owl at the waterfall or by the pond at all. In the past, during evening fish feedings, an owl will sometime swoop by overhead, but I’ve never seen them land near or in the pond or waterfall like this before. It was a very hot day, though. I can’t blame the owl for wanting a cool drink of water. 🙂

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