Reflected Sky

After our day out today (see previous post), I managed to find time for a late short walk to the Cove.

I’ve posted another photo of this view before, but it was taken in very different conditions. I was interested in the different textures of the mud and the water and the ways in which they both reflected the light.

I also held back some photos from earlier in the week, specially for Skywatch Friday.

This is the sky reflected in the River Lune from our visit on Wednesday.

And this is Cirrus cloud taken by the Kent estuary on Tuesday.

Reflected Sky

Set In A Silver Sea

This afternoon, on the way home from work, the flat grey sky that we’d had virtually all day began to break up. On the high road over Warton Crag I’ve often noticed a spot where there is just room for one car to pull off the road. There is clearly a path there climbing a rocky knobble and disappearing into the trees. I stopped there for the first time – after driving past it thousands of times – to see whether the path led to a viewpoint. In about 20 yards it came out of the trees, the ground fell away steeply and the view was excellent. I could look almost straight down on the meres of Barrow Scout field and over them to Morecambe Bay. (It wasn’t as dark as this picture makes it seem). The headland on the right is Jenny Brown’s Point, and behind that is Humphrey Head. Since 2000 Avocets have nested on islands in the large pools. The speckles of silver between the pools and the sea are smaller pools on the salt-marsh.

In a comment on Sunday’s post Tom used the phrase ‘this great island’ and it has stuck with me all week. I’ve taken quite a few photos of cloudy skies and shadows and sunlight on the sea.

(You can find more here and my favourite one here – it’s the twelfth photo in a long blog – bear with me)

Thinking of ‘great islands’ and silvery seas had me searching out this quote:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,—
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

King Richard II. Act ii. Sc. 1.

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Out taking advantage of the lighter evenings again tonight, I saw a pair of Marsh Tits. Not very momentous. Not the kind of thing that proper bird-watchers get excited about perhaps. I’ve probably seen Marsh Tits before, and at our last house I believe that we occasionally used to see them in the garden. But this is the first time that I’ve been sure that it was definitely Marsh Tits. By sight they are almost indistinguishable from Willow Tits. But they have a different song. I wouldn’t know where to begin to describe it, but my British Birds DVD says that it’s like someone sneezing. (You can judge for yourself here.) It was the song that first caught my attention, because I didn’t recognise it. I saw first one bird and then a second fly from the tree where they had been singing down to some brambles where I could se them more clearly – they were rather dumpy and brown, with a black cap and white cheeks. My recent determination to try to learn to identify birdsong is paying dividends even though there are still few that I am confident about. Tonight almost every tree that I passed seemed to have a Blackbird in full voice. In Pointer Wood, as well as the Marsh Tits there were numerous Great Tits singing a bewildering variety of songs.

Set In A Silver Sea

Blue True Dream of Sky

For the last couple of days we have had drab monotone grey skies and drizzly dismal weather. As if in sympathy I’ve been under the weather myself, having come down with the same disgusting cold that the rest of the family suffered over the weekend. Some relief today on the weather front at least: after another grey start, the skies cleared and we had a mild and sunny afternoon.

When I got home from work Angela’s parents were here and Angela and Ben were waiting to take me out for a walk. Ben was on his push-bike and really enjoyed freewheeling over the humps and hollows of the Lots.

This is the Kent channel taken from the cliff-top path near to the Cove. As you can see: plenty of blue sky, a few fluffy cumulus, but above them some strips of parallel clouds with a fairly well defined top edge and a more ragged bottom edge.

I’ve looked in my book, I’ve tried Google Images, but I can’t decide whether these are cirrostratus or not. Can anybody help me out?

As you may have gathered, I’m quite keen on clouds at the moment, but I’m not averse to a clear blue sky – not that we see them in this neck of the woods very often. They do make an excellent backdrop, for instance to this blackthorn blossom:

It looks like there’s a lichen growing on the blackthorn.

Yes, look – like little grey corals. I’m even more ill-informed about lichens then I am about clouds. But…I did borrow ‘Lichen’ from the Collins New Naturalist series from the library last week. So let me see……

Blue True Dream of Sky

Stratocumulus

One moment clouds feel oppressive and smothering, and the next they are the very things that inspire us to dream. Who hasn’t gazed up at castles in the sky and imagined a world away from the concerns of terra firma? As a Stratocumulus cloud develops out of a Stratus, glimpses of broken blue can begin to appear. Hours before, the sun seemed smothered, but now the foggy layer has started to gather into snow-covered mountains and melt into winding rivers of blue. There is another world up there – a shifting terrain of glacial valleys and billowing peaks, a land of promise and escape – one with its own nebulous laws of geology.

form The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

For most of today we haven’t really had a sky so much as an all-enveloping grey blanket. A low monotone lid, closing of the sky and drenching everything with drizzle to add insult to injury. However, as the day drew to a close the wind picked-up and the Stratus layer began to break up much as described above.

The cloud was fizzing overhead at great speed, and even as the last of the colour drained out of the sky, the movement and the texture provided much more interest than the drab grey wash that had preceded it.

The Cloudspotter’s Guide is a great read. No doubt ideal for any Skywatch Friday devotees.

I’ve been finding of late that I’m often gazing at the clouds when I’m walking. You can find more sky photos that I took on Tuesday, last Friday, or a back on the tenth.

Happy cloudspotting!

Stratocumulus