Friday 22 December 2023

Great clouds! But today's rain was just having a laugh.

Quite a fresh west wind. Overcast all day with showers, some very heavy.

South shore (MD)
I had a walk along the sea wall, timed to watch the lunchtime ferry arrive. I timed it perfectly, and so dod the rain. Fine all the way out and the way back, but the heavens opened just as the ferry rounded the wooden jetty. No chance of looking out to sea, but I don't think there was anything of interest, certainly nothing other than Herring, Lesser Black-Backed and Black Headed gulls followed it into the harbour.

There were several cormorants feeding in the harbour, these are two flying out. You can see the wind catching them as they reach the harbour mouth.

This is one of this year's youngsters having its wings blow dried.

First calendar year Cormorant 

Wigeon c150
Wigeon about to settle out of sight in the lee of No.2 outflow

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
There were a couple of light showers in the afternoon, it was raining when I called in at the main pond, so I didn't bother leaving my car.
Mute Swan pair plus 7 immature 
Coot 6
Moorhen 3
Mallard 14
Tufted Duck 2 male.

There isn't a need to leave your car to check the main pond, but I had to get out to check the "no swimming" pond. As soon as got there the heavens opened again and in the 50m walk back to my car I was completely sodden!
Gadwall 27
Moorhen 1
Grey Heron 1

This is the star of today's post, indeed it would be the star of most posts.
Nacreous clouds
Kevin Eaves took these beautiful shots yesterday "evening" (15:30).

Kevin also provided this explanation of the phenomena, courtesy of Chat GPT:

Nacreous clouds, also known as polar stratospheric clouds, are a rare and breathtaking meteorological phenomenon that occur in the winter polar regions. These ethereal clouds are known for their vibrant and iridescent colors, often resembling mother-of-pearl or nacre. Unlike regular clouds that form in the troposphere, nacreous clouds form in the stratosphere at altitudes of around 15 to 25 kilometers. They are composed of tiny ice crystals that create dazzling displays of colors when sunlight passes through them at specific angles. Nacreous clouds are not only a magnificent sight to behold, but they also play a role in the depletion of the ozone layer, as chemical reactions occurring within them contribute to the breakdown of ozone molecules.