Yesterday, we visited Mentor Headlands State Park to walk the dunes and do some bird watching. We saw a few Ruddy Ducks and also a few Buffleheads. Unfortunately, the ducks were a little too far out of reach for a decent photo. Most of the smaller birds seemed to be hiding, taking cover from the very brisk winds. While we walked, a barge and tug (Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann) were entering Fairport Harbor. Here are a few photos (click on any image for a larger view).
No, the Belt of Venus is not a fashion accessory. It’s an atmospheric phenomenon that you’ve probably seen but never gave it much thought. The Belt of Venus can make its appearance right before sunrise or right after sunset, and usually is best seen when the viewer has a good view of the sky down to the horizon. Slightly above the horizon, the sky develops a dusty pink-colored layer, with a dark bluish layer between the pink layer and the horizon. The bluish layer at the horizon is the earth’s shadow, which is appearing as the sun sets.
When my husband and I were watching for Comet Pan-Starrs at Mentor Headlands State Park last week, I took many photos of the sunset while we waited. I also turned my back to the sunset and photographed the Fairport Harbor West lighthouse at Headlands, which was positioned directly opposite the sunset. The Belt of Venus was clearly visible. Here are a few photos – if you think you’ve never seen this phenomenon before, maybe these photos will jog your memory or help you to spot it in the future. (Click on any image for a larger view.)
It was the first clear sky evening that we’ve had in several days. We decided to go to Mentor Headlands State Park to see if we could see Comet Pan-Starrs, which was supposed to be visible in the western sky after sunset, very low on the horizon. Unfortunately, there were clouds close to the horizon which seemed to block any view of the comet. We waited for about an hour after sunset (in bitter cold temperatures, by the way) and no comet could be seen. We decided to leave the beach when the howling of several coyotes were heard, and a little too close for comfort. Still, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset and dusk, with a colorful sky and waves of bluish ice on Lake Erie. Here are a few photos.
Back on September 24, 1970, I attended the Moody Blues concert in Cleveland Ohio at Public Auditorium. These were the days where rock concerts were simple – just the band, their basic musical instruments, and no flashy lighting effects. I brought along my cheap cassette tape recorder and managed to record most of the concert. Over 40 years have passed and I still have the original recording. Today, having some free time on my hands, I digitized it. Here’s an excerpt – The Moody Blues performing “Question.” (The song begins at about 1:50.)
The sun finally came out after several days of gray skies, bitter cold, wind, and plenty of lake-effect snow. Along with the sun came many birds, which have been somewhat absent from our back yard feeder for the last few days. There were so many birds at the feeder and in nearby trees that I got my camera and spent some time taking photographs. When the squirrels in the yard began to bark and run for the trees, and the blue jays began to scream and scold, I knew that a predator was close by. It didn’t take long for me to find a pair of red shouldered hawks sitting in the nearby apple tree. They both seemed unfazed by me, and only when a few blue jays dive bombed them did one of the pair leave the area. The other remained in the apple tree for 2 more hours, likely hoping for a “snack” of some hapless bird at our bird feeder. (We’ve seen many birds get picked off by hawks while near our feeder, so we can only think that to the raptors, our feeder is a fast food restaurant.)
The snow storm that came the day after Christmas was projected to be a blizzard with heavy snow. The heavy snow came, but the blizzard (windy) part never materialized. As we had nothing else better to do while the snow was falling, I took an approximately 20 hour time lapse of the storm. Here’s the short time lapse video of the event. We received about a foot of snow from this storm. The best evidence of the volume of snow can be seen by the (temporary) sagging of the tree limbs on the right.
My husband and I attended the grassroots rally for President Barack Obama that was held today in our home town of Mentor, Ohio. We stood in line in the cold rain (sometimes sleet) for 2 hours and when we got in the main building, they literally shut off the entrance to the Mentor High School gym/auditorium where the rally was being held. We were directed to the overflow room, with about 300 others, and we were told we would get a special guest. We were disappointed, but later we were very excited when we found that the special guest was the President himself, who arrived and first entered the overflow room, gave a brief speech, and shook many hands before exiting to the auditorium where the massive crowd waited. It was very exciting to see him in person - literally up close and personal – far better than it would have been had we been in the gym. Here are a few photos I took plus videos. Sorry for the short wobble in the videos; it was very crowded in there and my husband and I got jostled once or twice.