Showing posts from September, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Lifting Fog

Off South Fidalgo Island, the fog lifts from Skagit Bay in this seven minute sequence.  Because of our proximity to the Pacific Ocean, early morning fog can be a year-around phenomenon here.  It usually lifts before or shortly after sunrise.  Fog is a low-lying cloud which forms from moist air when the difference between air temperature and the dew point is small.  The driftwood is probably debris from the Skagit River seeking its home on the South Fidalgo shore.

Sunday Afternoon

Time 16:30, Temp 59.1° F, Dew Point 58.5° F, Barometer 29.96 inHg, Wind Calm, Humidity 98%

The peace of the day may be found in nature's expressions.  A light rain falls as mists wrap around the islands.  Another flock of migrating Canada Geese takes a rest stop on the beach.

Skywatch Friday: Contrail

Over Skagit Bay, high altitude cirrus clouds with encroaching cirrostratus predict possible rain within 48 hours.  The contrail marks the path of an aviator from N.A.S Whidbey Island.

Padilla Bay

One of the bays around Fidalgo Island is Padilla.  We say pa-DILL-a but you can call it pa-DEE-ya if you wish.  That will signal you're not from around here.  It's an estuary of the Skagit River plus several drainage sloughs in the Padilla watershed.  The entire 8,000 acre bay was set aside as a National Estuarine Research Reserve in 1980.  In 1973, the Breazeale farm just outside Bay View, Washington was donated to the State to protect the site from development.  In 1982, ground was broken for an interpretive center here which bears the family name.  It has become a site for graduate studies for Western Washington University and the University of Washington.  The complex includes the Breazeale farmhouse, laboratories, guest house, barn and Visitors' Center:

Views include Fidalgo Island across Padilla Bay and the refineries on March's Point:

Petroleum refineries produce their own weather by generating a large amount of steam.  It even rains more in spots near them:


My Canadians: On Schedule

Time 11:50, Temp 55.8 °F, Dew Pt 53.2 °F, Barometer 29.79 inHg, Wind 2 mph WSW, Humidity 92%

As promised, my Canadians stopped by today for a drink of fresh water.  The cosmic clock chimed right on schedule.  After a rainy morning, the sky cleared a bit to offer a comfortable stop-over.  This has been an annual fall event in the 20+ years I have lived here.  Are those albino Canada Geese in the group or have a couple of free-spirited barnyarders joined the flock?  Our Wrangel Island Snow Geese have orange faces which rules them out.  The Snow Geese won't arrive from the arctic for another month.  Twenty minutes later, a second string of Canadians made their appearance:

Northwest Weather Network

December 22, 2008: Ultimately 14 inches of snow would
accumulate at Fidalgo Weather.  Icy, snow-packed
roads would shut down most of western Washington.
Fidalgo Weather has become a member station in the Northwest Weather Network.  This is an affiliation of private weather station websites in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  Member stations contribute data which is presented in both mesomap and tabular formats at the NWWN website.  Fidalgo Weather's station data is designated "Anacortes."

January 18, 2010:  When an 11.1 foot tide and 42 mph
winds came together, low-lying front yards were
over-washed by the resulting storm surge.
At the present time, there are 29 regional stations in our network.  Affiliated networks are located throughout North America, South America, Africa, Europe and the Pacific.  You can visit all of the stations in the network by clicking on the links in the tables or on the map at the NWWN website.

New Fidalgo Weather
Anemometer Mast Fidalgo We…

Juniperus maritima

One of the unique pleasures of Washington Park in Anacortes is the Loop Drive.  This is a narrow, winding 2.2 mile/3.7 km drive through deep forest shared by walkers, bikes and vehicles.  Suddenly, the sky opens to a parking area at Juniper Point with an overlook to Burrows Island.  Right in the middle stands this wonderful, weathered old tree.  It has obviously experienced many windstorms on this exposed headland.  Upon inspection, I realized the tree was alive:

I didn't recognize the species.  After some net surfing I discovered the tree is special and has an interesting story.  It was originally classified as Juniperus scopulorum, the Rocky Mountain Juniper.  Pojar only mentions it as such and Robson has a short entry describing J. scopulorum.  In 2007, it was determined that the local specimens are genetically distinct and they were reclassified Juniperus maritima, the Seaside or Puget Sound Juniper.  It seems to like island living as patches are found on Whidbey, Fidalgo, Sk…

Skywatch Friday: Autumn Arrives

Whitecaps, cloud cover and blustery winds portend the arrival of autumn on South Fidalgo Island.  The sun has dropped below the clouds to light the islands in Skagit Bay.  On this day, the Jet Stream moved over us guiding in a low pressure system.  With the wheat harvest underway, the same system brought dust storms to eastern Washington.

Apple Polishing

I have always been a PC guy.  In fact, when the IBM PC was released in 1981, I bought one of the first available in western Washington.  It had two 160 K diskette drives and 128 K of upgraded memory.  I still recall the thrill of setting up that first one.  With that machine, I was doing things at work no one else could even imagine.  I had an instinct that this was the right move and never looked back.

Moving ahead almost 30 years, we use PDA's now at work for portable access to drug information databases.  They were getting to be old-timers and needed replacement.  To this end, we acquired an iPod Touch for evaluation.

Apple machines have been like a parallel universe for me, a place known to exist, yet forbidden to enter.  Then I got my hands on that iPod for the first time.  I felt the same thrill I experienced with my first PC.  The user interface is amazing.  I knew immediately, I had to have one of my own.  My good friend Amazon was more than willing to help.

So, what does …

Seagulls Standing on Rocks

Fidalgo Weather, September, 2010
I have noticed that seagulls seem to like to stand on rocks and ponder their surroundings.  When I notice patterns like this it gets me wondering why it is happening.  One reason could be because they can't perch in trees.  Their webbed feet are not built for grasping a branch.  Perching birds have a tendon structure in their feet designed for grasping.  It requires some effort to unclench.  A seagull's foot lacks this anatomy and so they are limited to perching on flat surfaces.  This is one reason they have been successful living around humans and our horizontal structures.

Robins do the same thing.  I have a small Japanese temple in the garden, and I see a robin perched on it quite often.  Robins can be territorial, so this may be a way of announcing, "this is my place in the world."  Robins, of course, have feet that allow them to perch anywhere they choose.

The gulls in this are area are probably Glaucous-winged Gulls.  They are …

It's About the Weather

This website is first and foremost a blog about weather, and things that are influenced by it.  In some fashion, gardening, nature, climate, seasons and wildlife are all related to the weather in a particular location.  Because of weather, you won't find alligators in Alaska and most rhododendrons wouldn't survive an Iowa winter.  Since weather is the primary theme here, I have upgraded the data presentation on the Current Weather page.  The page has been reorganized with new information added.  The goal was to make it useful, relevant and interesting.

First, a bit about how this works.  The Davis Vantage Pro2™ wireless weather station has two main components, a sensor array and station console.  The sensor array measures wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and rainfall.  These data are transmitted to the station console every 2.5 seconds.  The array is powered by a battery kept charged with a small solar collector.  The console adds barometric pressure, latitude, …

Skywatch Friday: Rain in Everett

From Skagit Bay, the setting sun catches rain clouds over Everett, Washington about 35 miles away.  Everett marks the approximate location of the "Puget Sound Convergence."  Pacific weather systems split by the Olympic Mountains recombine in this area, creating a band of precipitation.