Tuesday, September 22, 2009

enjoying the last days of summer

September is one of the best kept secrets about the Northwest. The weather is usually beautiful. Sunny days, cool night, little to no precipitation. While it’s been a little warmer then I would like, knowing the end of the sunshine is just around the corner, I’m keeping my comments to myself.

Grammie and Grampie are still visiting, so Little S has gotten outside a LOT for some exciting adventures.  Starting with a visit to the playground at Washington Park


It’s a dragon… no, maybe it’s a seahorse, or …?

She figured this little playground trick out too. Maybe it’s time for gymnastics lessons.

We also pushed our luck by keeping an already tired and overstimulated baby up to go to Chapman School to watch the Vaux’s Swifts nesting.  For the month of September, these birds take up residence in the chimney of a school. They number in the tens of thousands, and it’s the largest known roost of migrating swifts in the world. Once they started nesting there, years ago, the school kids took up a donation so the school could use alternate forms of heat so that nothing would happen to the birds.

This has become quite an event with hundreds and hundreds of people gathering on the lawn of the school on any given evening in September to watch the phenomenon. The closer it gets to sunset, more and more of these small birds start filling the sky IMG_1079

(all of those little specks are birds).  There’s high drama when a bird of prey swoops in to catch it’s dinner and the crowd collectively gasps in horror. Sometimes the swift wins, and the crowd cheers. Nature being what it is, sometimes the predator wins and the crowd is clearly crestfallen at the outcome.

As the thousands of birds start congregating, and it inches closer to sunset, the birds start forming this great, swirling vortex, sort of a bird tornado. At the bottom, swifts are diving into the chimney to nest for the evening.  We weren’t in the best location for photos, nor can any photo truly do this wondrous site justice. But, here are a couple of shots of the birds and if you look at the chimney, all of those black specks are birds flying into it.



Well, sunset is at about 7:15, and this all culminates around sunset and 10-20 minutes after. So, the fact that Little S wasn’t in complete meltdown was amazing. We paid at bedtime though, but this too shall pass.

Capping off her days of fun with Grammie and Grampie was a visit to yet another new playground-one at a shuttered elementary school nearby that is BIG and seemed like it had lots of features she would like. It didn’t disappoint. She showed off her climbing skills, scaling the grid as if it were nothing


Sliding down the big slides, and showing off her walking, which is slowly starting to become her primary method of transportation. Which allows her to discover other new tricks like this-which went on for quite some time as I fumbled for the camera

She’s really having a great time making new discoveries now that she can get herself from one point to another and remain upright. I’m sure flat out running is just a few days away.

We capped off this late summer day with a great dinner with Grammie and Grampie on their last night in town. Or what I’m sure was a great dinner, but Little S wanted NO part of being a civilized child in a restaurant. So, we went to the toy store and got some ice cream instead. That’s what to-go boxes are for, right?

She sure had a great time with her grandparents. It will be hard to top this outdoor fun when summer finally bids us adieu.

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