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28 March 2010 @ 08:30 pm
Haloes in the Sky  

The weather has continued to be cool. I haven't been out much, although I did go to Stony Swamp on Saturday in what turned out to be a very uneventful outing. I saw very little wildlife, and took very few photos, so I didn't bother to post an entry about that excursion. It will be nice when the weather warms up again and new migrants start to appear.

The neighbourhood robins and Mourning Doves continue to sing early in the morning, and on Saturday I heard a Song Sparrow singing somewhere close to my house...the first one back in the neighbourhood. The Mourning Doves are probably the most regular birds in my backyard these days, either feeding on the ground or just sitting on the fence for hours at a time.

Ice Crystal Haloes

On Saturday evening, while looking out the window to see if any birds were at the feeder, I noticed some faint rays of light in the sky above the setting sun. It was the sun pillar shooting straight up into the sky which first drew my attention, but when I saw the "upside down rainbow" above it I ran to get my camera.

The upside-down rainbow is known as a tangent arc and is one of the more frequently seen haloes. The arc always touches the 22º halo, which can also been seen in this photo, at a point directly above the sun. When conditions are less than favourable, the arc may appear simply as a local brightening of the 22° halo.

Having never seen a tangent arc before, I spent fifteen minutes trying to photograph it. It was not very bright to begin with, but I am reasonably pleased with the resulting photos which show - however faintly - the arc, the 22º halo encircling the sun, and the sun pillar beaming directly upward from the sun. If there were any sun dogs present, which is more than likely, they were hidden from view behind the houses.

I watched the sky until the sun sank out of sight and the haloes faded away. These beautiful displays are always unexpected and are all the more precious because of their fleeting nature.