It is not unusual for me to wake in the middle of the night. Sometimes I cannot easily get back to sleep. Depending on the situation, this is not necessarily wasted time.
When we spent a week in Costa Rica ten years ago, insomnia at 3 am rewarded me with an outstanding meteor shower and the sound of rays jumping out of the ocean and slapping back down in the water. A year and a half ago, almost daily stress-induced insomnia at 3:30 am allowed me to complete all the work necessary to get our house set up for my mother-in-law to move in so we could be her caregivers. This morning, though, may take the cake when it comes to a good pay-off for being wide awake before dawn.
When I woke at almost 10 minutes before 4 am, I was not unhappy. I'd hoped to get up early enough to listen for our local Great Horned Owl so I could add the bird to this month's yard list. After taking care of the dog, I went back outside with the lights out to listen. It was blessedly quiet with none of the neighborhood dogs, roosters, or donkey making a bit of noise. I waited as one car passed by in the distance and then puzzled over the bright light shining in my eyes.
As I tried to figure out why a helicopter would be flying straight towards me with a spotlight on - although there was no noise, the light exploded into a starburst and fell. In those couple of seconds, my brain registered that I had just seen a meteor fireball! There continued to be a bright vertical line on the horizon although I wasn't sure what I was seeing after being blinded by the bright light. I had time to run inside and grab my binocular so that I could confirm that I wasn't imagining it. There was indeed a smoke trail from the fireball.
I watched for a couple more minutes to see if there were any other meteors but saw nothing. I checked the back yard for owls and heard one almost immediately. After listening for a couple more minutes, time enough to hear the Vermilion Flycatcher and a Northern Mockingbird singing, I checked the sky again to the north. Amazingly, ten minutes after the fireball, smoke still lingered in the air, albeit beginning to disperse.
It's not a bad morning when you get to make a report to a meteor sighting website as well as to eBird.