Tag: Boulder

Owl be seeing you

By Phil Plait | May 1, 2010 7:40 am

[Please check the bottom of this post for a related issue…]

I know, it’s Caturday, but I’ve expanded the concept — it’s my blog, y’know — to include all animals that I want it to. So here’s a pair of cuties for you:

Click to enhootenate.

These owlets — actually, Great Horned Owlets — are nested in a hollow stump about 5 meters off the ground along a creek not too far from my house. My wife heard about them, and we told her brother Chris, and he ran down there to get this and some other great pictures of them.

Mama and Papa Owl are usually nearby, in another tree, keeping watch. I was down there last week to see, and also spotted a hawk, a muskrat… and this guy:


That’s a Great Blue Heron — a lot of birds around here are Great — and I saw it standing in a lake not far from the creek and the owl. As I watched, the heron suddenly stuck its head into the water and came up with that fish (anyone know what kind that is?). That’s a pretty good meal! I noticed another heron a bit farther away, and I wonder if they’re mates. A little while later I saw one of them flying around, and in the air they are simply amazing. Graceful and huge, and I stood there and gawked at it.

All in all, that was a nice day to be out walking. Boulder in the spring is lovely (even if it snowed the other day; it melted in an hour or two though), and I have to remember to take some time to walk away from this accursed computer/internet/web thingy and actually breathe in some real life. There’s a lot of life out there.

[Note: John Billingsley, the actor who played Dr. Phlox in "Enterprise", sent me a note (!!) that he and several other Star Trek actors (Armin Shimerman, Robert Picardo, and Ethan Phillips) will be celebrating the LA Audubon Society’s 100th anniversary with an afternoon picnic and birdwatch on May 9th. The first 30 people to sign up to help will join them in this fun afternoon… it’s $150 per person and proceeds go to the society. Call Martha at 1-888-522-7428 or send an email to books "at" laaudobon "dot"org for details.]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Windswept clouds over Boulder

By Phil Plait | February 5, 2010 10:00 am

I love clouds, and Boulder is a never-ending and always-changing nebular cloudscape of them.

Last Saturday I saw this out my home office window:

It was gorgeous! It’s a lenticular (lens-shaped) orographic cloud; a cloud caused by moisture-laden air rising up and cooling as it passes over mountains. We see them here all the time just east of the Rockies, and when they get all lenticular it’s a very cool bonus.

Orographic clouds aren’t limited to the Earth you know; other planets have atmospheres with some moisture and tall mountains to overcome as well.

Some people think that science takes away the romance of nature. Those people are wrong. When I lie out in the Sun and muse about the pretty clouds over my home town, I can know that what I’m seeing happens on other planets spinning around the Sun, and I’ll just bet it’s happening somewhere on a planet orbiting some other distant sun, lost among the billions in our galaxy.

What could possibly be more romantic than that?


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