Monday, August 29, 2016

I Had Almost Forgotten

I got an email the other day from Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics. He sent me a photo he had taken of an open book. Ah, I had almost forgotten that my very first photo of an iridescent cloud was being published in Roger Brugge's new book in England. I first wrote about this here.
Oh wow! There it was. I can't tell you how grateful I am to Les for remembering and sending this to me. He is really one of the nicest people on the planet. It's been almost six years since I sent Les this photo. Back in November of 2010, after I had learned that what I was seeing was called an iridescent cloud and not a sundog, I googled iridescent clouds and fell in love with the Atmospheric Optics website. Les and I have been corresponding ever since.
This is the sight that changed my life, seriously. I took a turn down the atmospheric optics highway and have never looked back.

One of the best parts of having a look at this photo in a book was being able to show it to my mom. Yes, she loved it! Her sky-loving-run-outside-with-the-camera daughter is almost famous!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ohana

A blogging friend who lives in Hawaii told me this word "Ohana" when I posted on Facebook that my mother came to live with Roger and me last Friday. Ohana. According to Wikipedia, "Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another." So, here we are in our newly defined family. 
My mom, Roger, and twin brother having lunch on the deck
My twin brother flew from Virginia with my mom. It was a long 11 hour journey that meant three planes and a lot of chaos for a woman who will be 91 in September. But she is here now with us, and we plan to keep her healthy, happy, and whole for as long as we can. 
On Sunday, we took her to see the Pacific Ocean. She said it had been many, many years since she had seen it. We were lucky. We headed ten miles north to Trinidad Bay and the sun was shining on these blue blue waters. She loved the smell and sound of the sea. She said, "This will keep me healthy." Yes, I think she is right.
We drove back toward Arcata and stopped at an overlook to see if we could see the mouth of the Mad River and the sea lions that gather there. But the tide was high, and the river was not visible. The fog had come back in, and all we could see was a hint of the blue skies we had left in Trinidad, reflected on the edge of the sea there. 

Then, back to Arcata to stop at the market to a pick up a few things for dinner. My mom stayed in the car, already too tired to venture out to shop. When we got home, she went straight to bed for a nap. Yes, our new life begins. Ohana.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: The Other Photos

Photos I didn't post from the other day, and a few more.





Monday, August 15, 2016

When The Fog Lifted

We headed out for a walk at the marsh Sunday afternoon. The fog had burned off, giving us a few hours of beautiful warm sunshine on a calm, blue-sky day.
We didn't take our usual walk. Well actually we did, but in reverse. When were driving in toward the parking lot I had noticed a large group of shorebirds that looked rather photogenic. If we took our usual walk, these birds would have been at the end of the walk. It was unlikely that they would hang around waiting for us to come by in an hour or so to take their photos. So we headed in their direction right away.
There was something about that tall one that caught my attention. It had such a long-billed presence. I just had to zoom in to see who it was. Oh wow! It was a Long-billed Curlew! What a wonderful surprise. We don't see them very often.
When we got home from the walk, I thought I should read a bit about their habitat and life and found this disappointing bit of news:
Long-billed Curlews appear to be declining in eastern parts of their breeding range such as the Great Plains, while they are slightly increasing in some western areas. A 2012 study estimated a North American population of about 140,000 birds. Long-billed Curlew rates a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. The species was much more numerous in the nineteenth century, but numbers fell in response to hunting and conversion of their grassland breeding habitat to agriculture and housing. This is thought to be one reason why Long-billed Curlews are now scarce in winter along the Atlantic coast. The major continuing threat to Long-billed Curlews is habitat loss owing both to development and projected effects of climate change. For example, more than 75% of Canadian native grasslands are gone, and wintering habitat in California wetlands has declined by 90%. Pesticide spraying may harm curlews indirectly by reducing the birds' food supplies, particularly grasshoppers. According to NatureServe, breeding populations are of particular concern in Arizona and Kansas.
Well, that is not very good news at all. I can't imagine looking at a creature like this and then learning that it is on the list of species in most danger of extinction. I don't even know what to write about this. It's a heartbreak and one that I feel so powerless about.

I was going to post a few more photos of other things we saw at the marsh, but this news made me want to end the post here. Well, I will add, these birds were indeed gone when we passed by on the way out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016