Monday/ the sky as a canvas 🖼

Check out this amazing picture taken last Monday during the solar eclipse (seen as a partial eclipse from Montreal).
Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin explains in the New York Times:
The plane passing over Montreal during the partial phase of the eclipse left a typical contrail in its wake. When this happens in full sunlight, the shadows cast by contrails on clouds are usually too diffuse to see. In this case, the sharpness of the shadows was explained by the eclipse.
Though the shadows of the contrails appeared to be on a layer of clouds above the aircraft, as though cast from reflected light from the Earth, this was an illusion. The shadows were made by the light of the sun, cast downward onto clouds below it.

Picture by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin on Mon. Apr. 8, and published in The New York Times’s Trilobites section.

Saturday/ blossoms 🌸

There are still blossoms on the trees here in the city.
Here’s one on a young magnolia tree.

Magnolia is a large genus of more than 250 flowering plant species.
Magnolias appeared before bees evolved (fossils dating back 95 million years have been found), and are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles instead.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Thursday/ a brand-new lawn 🐛

There it is: the first time ever since I had lived in my ole house, that new topsoil and grass seed have been put in.
(Yes, yes- I know that lawns are anathema to some environmentalists, but mine is really small. And my lawn services company says we don’t have great solutions for the Seattle climate yet, for ground cover greenery as an alternative).

I have strict instructions (from the lawn services company that took out the moss and put down a top soil and grass seed mix) to keep the soil moist. Not dry, and not overly wet, either. That way the seeds will germinate and hopefully new green shoots will be visible in 14 days. A grand little exercise in botany, no?
The sprinkler works fine, but doesn’t quite cover all the spots. I used a watering wand tonight that gives me more control, and that will work a little better.

Monday/ a total eclipse ☀️⚫️☀️

Bailey’s Beads* are seen just before totality in Dallas, Texas on Monday, April 8, 2024.
A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the North American continent from Mexico’s Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of Central America and Europe.
*The Bailey’s Beads effect occurs when gaps in the Moon’s rugged terrain allows sunlight to pass through in some places just before the total phase of the eclipse.
[Photo Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber; shot with Nikon Z 9 | Lens: NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S | ƒ/11.0 | 560.0 mm | 1/8000 s | ISO 800 | Flash off, did not fire]

Monday/ here’s April 🌷

The tulips are out here in the city.
The bell shaped flower of tulips have three petals and three sepals.
Yes, you read that right.
The outside ones are called sepals— not an April Fools’ joke!


Saturday/ 14,000 feet under the sea 🌊

‘Alien-looking lobsters, sponges, urchins, sea stars and sea lilies are among the creatures deep-sea explorers found off the coast of Chile.
Deep-sea explorers searching below the waves off the coast of Chile may have found more than 100 species completely new to science.

The potential discovery of the new creatures across 10 seamounts in the southeast Pacific does more than just add to the depth of understanding of the sheer diversity of ocean life. For the researchers, it shows how ocean protections put in place by the Chilean government are working to bolster biodiversity, an encouraging sign for other countries looking to safeguard their marine waters’.
– From a report by Dino Grandoni for the Washington Post of Feb. 24.
– Pictures are stills from a video by the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Saturday/ sea and sun 🌊

Here are today’s pictures— from the Del Mar area north of San Diego.

Nala the house cat posing for us since it is Caturday.
Hawaiian Red Anthuriums at Swami Seaside Park in Encinitas.
Daisies at Swami Seaside Park in Encinitas.
Koi in the pond at Swami Seaside Park in Encinitas.
Blue skies and palm trees outside Swami Seaside Park in Encinitas.
It was a perfect day for surfing off the beaches at Encinitas.
On the beach at Fletcher Cove State Park. The sand behind us has been moved there by a huge dredging and pumping operation, funded by money from the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2023.
And here is the sunset that we came to see, from the beach at Fletcher Cove State Park.

Monday/ on the ferry ⛴

I took these pictures from the Tacoma ferry today, during her 2.05 pm crossing from Bainbridge Island to Seattle.

Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) at the Bainbridge ferry terminal.
Here we go .. departure from the Bainbridge ferry terminal on the Marine Vessel Tacoma. Her maiden voyage was in October 1997.
Plying the waters of Puget Sound on the way to Colman Dock, also called Pier 52, the primary ferry terminal in Seattle.
Here’s the Marine Vessel Suquamish, the other ferry servicing the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route. She started service in 2018 and is Washington State’s newest ferry, capable of carrying 144 cars and 1,500 passengers.
The first of five new hybrid ferries was supposed to roll off the line in 2022, but the contract with long-time ferry builder Vigor, previously Todd Shipyard, fell through. Why? The bid to build the boats was double what the state had expected. The ferry system is now about to put out the bid for these five vessels again, but it will be at least 4 years before any new ferry will go into service.
[Reported by Chris Sullivan on]
The Seattle city skyline, in shades of gray.
The Brant geese (Branta bernicla) skimming the waters of Puget Sound are migratory birds that spend winters in lower latitudes such as the Pacific Northwest, and nest in summer in the high Arctic (the north of Canada).
The new pedestrian bridge to Colman Dock looks great. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will stay graffiti-free the way it is right now.

Caturday 🐆

Posted @MAstronomers on X.
‘Your shadow is your best friend.
The black panther is the melanistic color variant of the leopard (Panthera pardus), so these are not two different species, but a leopard and her melanistic partner’.

Friday/ 324 years ago 🌊

Happy Friday.

Exactly 324 years ago today— on Jan. 26, 1700, at 9 pm—  the Juan de Fuca plate slipped an average of 20 meters (66 ft) along a fault rupture about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) long in the Pacific Ocean.

The magnitude 9 earthquake caused a tsunami which struck the west coast of North America and the coast of Japan.

Source: ‘The Orphan Tsunami of 1700’ by Brian F. Atwater, published in 2005

Wednesday/ Paracas National Reserve 🦀

We arrived at the cruise terminal on the Paracas peninsula near Pisco this morning at 7 am.

Our excursion was to nearby Paracas National Reserve, an area with protected desert and marine ecosystems.
Most of the area is a moonscape with no vegetation.
It is really part of the Atacama Desert— the driest nonpolar desert in the world.

At our first stop there was a trail with an overlook to Supay Beach.
Please do not collect fossils (of shells imbedded in stones).
Here is Supay Beach.
The rocky outcrop on the left full of seabirds and guano is called La Cátedral (The Cathedral).
This stop in Paracas National Reserve provided a great view of Playa Roja (Red Beach).
Looking in the other direction, one can see dunes and the soft pastel colors of the sand and the soil.
This beach is called Playa La Mina Pisco.

The blackish oystercatcher is a species of wading bird in the oystercatcher family Haematopodidae. It is found in Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands and Peru, and is a vagrant to Uruguay. [Wikipedia]
I caught this one digging a little crab out of the sand at the edge of the surf.
The grey gull, also known as garuma gull, is a medium-sized gull native to South America. Unusual among gulls, it breeds inland in the extremely dry Atacama Desert in northern Chile, although it is present as a non-breeding bird along much of the Pacific coast of South America.

These little gray geckos scurry along on the dry seaweed. I have a little research to do to find out the name of the specie.
Almost time to leave Pisco, at about 5 pm this afternoon. The anchoring ropes are still in place but the dock workers are standing by to loosen them. 
Here is where we were at about 8 o’clock tonight: leaving the shores of Peru behind and sailing south towards the coast of Chile.

Saturday/ the coast of Peru 🏜

That green dot that we are headed for is the port town of Salaverry.
The Peru-Chile Trench on the ocean floor is nearby.
From Wikipedia:
The Peru–Chile Trench, also known as the Atacama Trench, is an oceanic trench in the eastern Pacific Ocean, about 160 km (99 mi) off the coast of Peru and Chile. It reaches a maximum depth of 8,065 m (26,460 ft) below sea level in Richards Deep (23°10′45″S 71°18′41″W) and is approximately 5,900 km (3,666 mi) long; its mean width is 64 km (40 mi) and it covers an expanse of some 590,000 km2 (230,000 sq mi).

We spotted the coast of Peru this morning.
The Norwegian Sun is on course to arrive at the port town of Salaverry early in the morning, after three days at sea.

We found this banded sphinx moth (Eumorpha fasciatus) on the promenade deck two nights ago. Adults are on wing year-round in the tropics.


Tuesday/ Cólon, Panama 🇵🇦

We reached the seaport of Cólon early this morning. Cólon is at the northern end of the Panama Canal.

After breakfast, we went on our excursion for the day: an aerial tramway tour through the Gamboan forest canopy.

At the top of the tramway― called Cerro Pelado― there is an observation tower with panoramic views of Soberania National Park, the Chagres River and the Panama Canal.

Our tour included stops at a sloth sanctuary, an orchid house and a butterfly enclosure.