It’s the time of year when the afternoon sun feels as warm as summer – and then darkness sets in when the evening has barely begun.
One last ray of light steals into the secluded cove where mallards are settling for the night.
Just minutes of subdued light remain as a Great Blue Heron flies high across the sky.
The Night Heron crouches in the shadows, quietly awake.
This low light suits a small shorebird – but makes positive identification difficult.
My best guess is that this is an olive-legged Solitary Sandpiper, though it also looks much like a Lesser Yellowlegs. (And truly, if a Yellowlegs is walking in the mud after dark, does it still have yellow legs?)
While most bright flowers have long since faded, bursts of New England Asters (aka Michaelmas Daisies) still decorate roadsides.
Out in the marsh, fall colours are deepening with the occasional lily pad turning to red.
A lily pad, an overnight shower, and the early morning sunshine work together to create a collection of liquid rubies.
In October the photographer’s “golden hour” – when a low-shining sun bathes everything in a warm glow – lasts a good bit more than an hour each morning and again at the end of the afternoon.
It’s a great time to slow down and behold one of the smallest birds in the marsh, the Swamp Sparrow.
Working the rich mud where roots meet water, the Swamp Sparrow darts from one tiny insect to another.
A muskrat’s siesta ends and it’s time to open those eyes.
A Night Heron moves into hunting territory at water’s edge.
And for a brief moment the Wood Ducks put on a light show that rivals any sunset.
Photo at top of page: Belted Kingfisher, Touched by Colour (click here for full-size image)