Red Sky At Night …

I was proofreading an advance copy of a friend’s book and came to a passage which included this age-old bit of weather lore:

text sampleRed sky at night, sailors delight,
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning

I have heard this since I was a child.  It seems to be something with which most people are familiar.  But I wondered, does it really work and if so, why?  While looking up its origins, I found another reference to this advice:

Matthew 16:2: “[Jesus] replied, [to some Pharisees and Sadducees that wanted to “test” him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven] ‘When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Yes indeed, it’s been around a while. So why does this old adage work as a weather predictor?  Here’s what the encyclopedia has to say:

wrkskk red sky

“Weather systems typically move from west to east, and red clouds result when the sun shines on their undersides at either sunrise or sunset. At these two times of day, the sun’s light is passing at a very low angle through a great thickness of atmosphere commonly known as The Belt of Venus. The result of which is the scattering out of most of the shorter wavelengths — the greens, blues, and violets — of the visible spectrum, and so sunlight is heavy at the red end of the spectrum. If the morning skies are red, it is because clear skies to the east permit the sun to light the undersides of moisture-bearing clouds coming in from the west. Conversely, in order to see red clouds in the evening, sunlight must have a clear path from the west in order to illuminate moisture-bearing clouds moving off to the east.”

So now you know!  By the way, be sure to keep watching our blog for news of the release of the book I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Shari and I think it’s a great story!                                                                                                                                   -Wyatt-

Ice Breaker Swan

Well it’s early December and the rig is all put away for the winter. We will again be staying in the north this year. (We sure do miss the Florida weather, but it really makes sense for us to be here, at least for the time being.) We are cozily settled into our winter digs, enjoying a slightly slower pace, hoping to use this season to further develop our music and to catch up on some things that have fallen by the wayside in the busier summer months.

We’ve had the privilege of observing some pretty interesting avian activity here lately, like this kingfisher that dropped by in early November:

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

It’s fun to watch the ducks gliding along and the seagulls out on the water playing, sometimes diving and splashing, but I think I enjoy watching the swans the most. Thirteen of them graced the lake yesterday, mostly on the opposite shore, as the water there is free of ice.

While watching the swans I noticed some very peculiar movement, and realized one of them was thrusting his body forward in order to break the ice so they all could swim freely into the river that connects to the lake. I quickly grabbed a camera and was able to capture some video.  It’s a little rough but I think it’s interesting enough that you will still be able to enjoy it.

What I’m going to tell you next is going to sound crazy, but it really happened like this! While proofreading and editing what I’d written above, out of the corner of my eye I saw an eagle fly past, not more than 30 feet away! My heart was racing! I’d spotted him on the ice yesterday right before he flew away but didn’t get to the camera in time. Today he landed again, and I was able to get in one quick snap before he took to flight.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Then, while I was trying to catch another picture of the eagle, a big ol’ sandhill crane whizzed through the air, 10 or 15 feet from our window! How amazing and exhilarating! We’ve seen scores of these cranes in Florida, and maybe a dozen or two in northern Michigan, but this is the first one we’ve seen in West Michigan. How stunning it was to see this gigantic bird fly by at close range! I’m surprised the bird was alone, as we normally see them in groups of 2 or more. I wonder if we’ll see him again, or if he was just passing through.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger images.

Wyatt and I find a lot of pleasure in watching the change of seasons. Soon the swans will be gone but the juncos will be making their appearance. Then we’ll really know it’s winter!                                                                                                                      –Shari