Tuesday, January 24, 2012

color break

Three days of storms, ending yesterday, washed the world clean and re-injected color and life into our lives, briefly. The picture is near sunset, just west of us. A few minutes later, as we lost the direct light, the gold of the treescape faded to a flat gray-brown. It was a brilliant respite from the foggy winter we've had.

The life was as impressive as the color - about 20,000 snow geese, tundra swans, and white-fronted geese wheeling and calling in the western sky, as the large cranes glided by in the foreground. Another magical moment in the under-appreciated valley landscape. The not-so-good photo below (with a telephoto lens) captures cranes between a fiery sky and darkening landscape - appropriate for birds that the Chinese consider to be intermediaries between heaven and earth.

For numbers, though, nothing comes close to the local flocks of European starlings over the past few weeks. The starling is an introduced bird, a beneficiary of that misguided project whose goal was to bring to North America a pair of every bird mentioned by Shakespeare. It is a major agricultural pest and it competes for nesting habitat and food with native species. A professional ornithologist friend recently estimated an extended overflight of starlings a few miles from here as containing 1.2 million birds.

And, speaking of that long siege of gray? It's back, with visibility this morning at about 100'. Its local effects are much less troubling, though, than what it signifies - the return of the high pressure ridge which keeps storm systems out of California. With rainfall to date at only about 4", compared to a usual of about 10", that's very bad news.

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  1. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.

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  2. A beautiful sunset photo. Indeed, taking a picture of the sunset is one of the best photographs ever! my sources.