Aug 18 2008
One of the benefits of watching birds is that I’ve gained an appreciation for clouds. The beautiful ones are almost as ephemeral as birds, forming and dissipating in a matter of minutes. I noticed this principle on Sunday at Lake Arthur.
It was a warm sunny day as I walked the trails along the lake shore. Eventually the sound of the water and wind lulled me into sleepiness. Hammock time! But I didn’t have a hammock so I sat down on the grass. Pretty soon I lay down and looked straight up.
A few birds caught my attention but the big attraction was the cloud layer that looked like a honeycomb, as shown here.
Cirrocumulus are the highest clouds. Formed of ice crystals above 16,500 feet, they often have an iridescence that I can see with my polarized sunglasses. Below them were a few altocumulus, mid-level clouds at 6,500 to 16,500 feet and one beautiful lenticular cloud, a lozenge in the sky.
If the altocumulus clouds had been thicker, they might have meant a weather system was approaching. Instead, they broke up and floated away leaving a clear sky Sunday night with a bright, full moon.
Summer clouds make me happy. I will try to remember this in November when Pittsburgh’s clouds blanket the sky.
(stock photo from Shutterstock)