February 15, 2015

Before the Squall

Yesterday afternoon, with the temperatures still in the "balmy 20s" before an approaching snow squall was to bring in a sub-zero cold wave, I decided to take a stroll to Potter's Falls and the Upper Dam of Six-Mile Creek, snowshoeing through about a foot and a half of snow.

Fire and Ice

Along the way were some nice icicle formations, which was interesting when viewed with the Therm-App:

Here's another block of ice.

From afar, the ice walls look uniform, but the thermal image shows some parts warmer than others. Getting close to some of these ice walls I could see that the "warm" regions had water trickling through actively.

Before the Squall

When I reached the upper dam, my new "hotspot detection" tweak alerted me to this hotspot:
Yellow box shows Therm-App field of view shown on the right. Photo on the left reflects approximately how dark it was getting at the time.

This turned out to be an American Goldfinch, sitting motionless in a relatively low branch.

Continuing up through a pine grove, I saw this:

It was getting quite dark by now (darker than suggested by the photo), and a couple of Great Horned Owls started counter-hooting nearby. I was excited to find out what this hotspot was, but at this very moment the snow squall hit, and combined with the growing darkness I just could not get my binoculars onto the hotspot. So close!

The image above also shows a big challenge with IR birding: can you find the area of the photograph that corresponds with the IR image? It is just as difficult to do so in real time, combined with trying to use binoculars while holding on to the Therm-App and staring almost straight up warblering-style.

I'm definitely heading back to that stand of pines in the next "warm spell".

February 7, 2015

Christmas Lights

The birds were hanging out in good numbers at Sapsucker Woods this morning, and were decorating the trees like Christmas lights when seen via the Therm-App.

(Mostly) House Finches in the "staging trees" by the boardwalk near the Sapsucker Woods feeder garden.

(Mostly) House Finches in the "staging trees" by the boardwalk near the Sapsucker Woods feeder garden.

Mourning Doves in the left, Cedar Waxwings in the right. Not that I expect to be able to tell species apart with a thermal imager.

Meanwhile, I found this interesting warm spot in the woods:

The thermal image shows a slice of the tree back being warmer than the rest of the tree. Is this from rot? A cavity? Something else? I did not pry to find out. (Experience has also shown that tree cavities usually register colder rather than warmer than the surrounding wood, unless, of course, there is some warm inhabitant within.)

February 1, 2015

Keeping Track

Today was day 2 of a Keeping Track animal tracking field day with Sue Morse and Linda Spielman.

During lunch a few of us stumbled across some fresh mouse tracks in the snow, which all led to or from a tree with a nice cavity - a cavity that registered as a cold spot with my Therm-App. But I happened to swing the Therm-App across a smaller cavity and noticed something warm: it was a deer mouse peeking through a crack in the tree:

After I had my fun photographing the critter in the crevice, I'd walked away when another participant (Dylan from Binghamton University) noticed it coming out of the tree. I captured this thermal image of the mouse leaving the cavity as Dylan stood to the side photographing it with his point-and-shoot:

Slowly the mouse descended, crossed the snow, and climbed up the next tree: