Riverside Park in the Evening

We are big fans of leisurly walks, especially in the evening whe the temperature drops a little, making the sticky combination of humidity and sweat more effective at cooling us down.

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Riverside Park follows the Guadalupe River for a little over a mile and is home to the zoo, a golf corse, an abandoned dog race track (I think that’s what is) and the nicest restaurant in town, The Pumphouse.  There are many places to have a picnic and a few playgrounds for kids, too.  On Saturday evening, Peter took me on a date to get some BBQ at Uncle Mutts (we decided to never eat there again…different story), and then for a little walk around the pond and river at sunset.

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All the animals come out at dusk.  The symphony of insects chirping to eachother, birds darting from branch to branch, frogs, turtles and geese all come alive as the sun goes down.

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The above bird is a yellow crown night heron.  Having a biology professor husband is like having my  own personal naturalist to answer or look up all of my queries.  Peter pulls out his copy of Birds of North America every time we get home from the park or a day trip to figure out what kind of birds we saw.  When we go to the park during the day, I usually see a pretty little red bird called a summer tanager, which looks like this, but I haven’t been able to snap a photo of the one in the wild.

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These larvae entwined in spiderweb made Peter smile.  Apparently, the larvae, which would become some type of insect, were building a nest over a spider’s web.

While studying the larvae, we stumbled upon one of the only type of insect that are acceptable to me: fireflies.  Peter had told me a few years ago that the two scientific phenomena he really wanted to see are the northern lights and fireflies.  We decided that we would have to take trip both to northern Canada for the first and to Louisiana or some other swampy place in order to see the second.  Now that we live in beautiful, humid Victoria, we can see fireflies just a mile from our apartment.

Fireflies look like a split-second of a lit match.  During early twighlight, the lights are a yellow-orange color, but as the sun completely disappears, the lights transition to a soft green glow.  We’re not sure if it’s just the way we can see the light or if the two colors come from different species of fireflies.

While walking along the river bank we witnessed a firefly casual encounter just before sunset.  One firefly flashed his orangy light, another nearby firefly flashed right back.  In one quick motion, the second firefly flew over and landed on the first one’s back and they flew off together in a blaze of flashy lights.  Peter told me that the firefly flashing is a way to attract mates, so he was pretty sure we just witnessed their courtship.

Even trying to use the video feature on my camera, I couldn’t get a good picture of the fireflies.  They flash their glowy orange or green for only a fraction of a second.  I’ll keep trying and put up photos if I’m lucky enough to catch the fireflies with my camera.

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We ended our walk overlooking the Guadalupe river as the sun slowly set.  With no mountains or even small hills around for miles, the sun sets peacefully over Victoria, creating a softer and softer glow on the river, grass and trees, echoing the the rhythms of life here: leisurely winding down the day.

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