Thursday, January 19, 2012

A few more pics of rotor/wave clouds west of Canon City, CO

I took these photos with my new Canon 60d dslr camera, which allowed me to take them at 1/8000 of a second at F16, using my Canon 70-300mm lens. This provides better photos, I think, of these ephemeral cloud formations. I took the top photo less than 10 seconds after the photo that is in the previous post (in which I used my older Canon xti dslr camera with the same lens but at only 1/4000 of a second which the limit for this camera).
I took the top photo above of the same cloud formation but only about a minute earlier and from the same location at Brush Hollow Reservoir as the bottom photo, but used a 200mm setting for the top and 300mm for the bottom pics. Click on photos to enlarge for best views. SeEtta

More rotor/wave clouds due to continuing high winds in Colorado


Colorado continued to have high winds so as I drove around yesterday doing my birding I watched as rotor/wave clouds formed and dissipated. Though many formed into rotor/wave clouds, caused by Kelvin-Helmholz instability, they tended to be pretty wispy and dissipated quickly. This was about the best one, at least in coming out more definitively as a photo. I took this photo from Brush Hollow Reservoir near Penrose,CO looking west past Canon City. More to come from the day before. SeEtta

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Long-tailed Duck pursued by coots and Redhead Ducks

I don't know what it was about this female Long-tailed Duck but first the American Coots chased her away then 2 Redhead Ducks did the same. After she swam close to the cliffs she tucked her head, closed here eyes and appeared to rest (though even with the shelter of these cliffs her feet were always moving to keep her in place). After awhile several American Coots swam close in. She opened her eyes to watch them. As they swam at her she untucked her head and swam away. This happened several times and the top pic shows one of the coots as it was pursuing her. Then after she came back in and was resting again two Redheads started swimming after her as shown in the bottom pic. After she swam distant from the other ducks, they let her be. Finally I watched her come back in close to the shelter of the cliffs for a third time and this time she did not let the other ducks intimidate her. She appeared to vocalize as shown in a pic on the previous post which may have communicated that they should let her be?? SeEtta

Closer views of the Long-tailed Duck

I drove around Brush Hollow Reservoir trying to get a closer view of the Long-tailed Duck. After losing track of her for awhile I refound her from the cliff area on the west side of the reservoir. After awhile she came close to the cliff area to rest from the winds as this side provided some shelter which a flock of American Coots, a few American Wigeon and 2 Redhead Ducks were also taking advantage of. The duck was only about 200-250 feet away when I took the top pic. However, this close a photo would not have come out so nicely in the now strong and gusty winds (as I have to stand on a point overlooking the reservoir with no protection from the winds that were shaking everything) because I used a tripod and my new camera let me take photos at 1/8000 of a second which avoided much of the wind shake.
I really like the middle pic as it shows the duck with it's bill open. It may have been vocalizing to the nearby ducks (more on that in next post). And I liked the bottom pic as it shows her very black feet that she has lifted during grooming. SeEtta

Long-tailed Duck near Canon City,CO


This afternoon, while doing a little birding to see what is around now that I am back from a long trip to So Texas, I drove out to Brush Hollow Reservoir about 15 northwest of Canon City to see if the recent high winds had blown anything unusual in. Indeed far in the distance I spotted this female Long-tailed Duck. She was more than 400 feet away when I took the top pic which is greatly enlarged from what I saw since I used my 400 mm lens with a 1.4 extender. Since my new Canon 60d dslr camera is not full frame the photo has an additional 1.6 magnification so the combination is approximately equivalent to a photo taken by a 900 mm lens or about 18 times the size seen with naked eyes. It is hard to see the little duck in that top pic but it, and a slightly larger Common Goldeneye near it, are directly under the text.
The bottom pic is just an enlargement of the top pic. I took the pic from the slight elevation on the east side of the reservoir at the top of the boat ramp because this Long-tailed Duck is small enough that viewing it from the shoreline made it even more difficult to see since the wind was quite blustery and the waves often obscured it. This is the second Long-tailed Duck I have found in my area, the first one was in 2007 on the Arkansas River just east of Canon City. More pics to come. SeEtta

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rotor/wave clouds in Colorado/'Kelvin-Helmholz'

Two years ago I photographed a long set of rotor (that look like ocean waves) clouds southeast of Canon City, Co that I posted on this blog. I shared them with the Pueblo Weather Service meteorologists who confirmed the photos as what are called rotor clouds that are a rare phenomena caused by "Kelvin-Helmholtz instability" that is related to wind shear likely from strong winds near mountains. Well yesterday near dusk I caught this shorter segment of rotor clouds very near to the same location as those I took two years ago--both southeast of Canon City in Fremont County, both just east of the Wet Mountains and both during a period of high winds. I think I may have spotted these at the end of their run as they lasted about a minute (per time stamp on photos I took) before losing their shape. SeEtta