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".


  1. Suan...how much temp diff on the 'warm' section of the ice? found it very interesting that there was a such a difference...

  2. Cool part ~3.9C, warm part ~6.0C. Caveat: I've found the temp readings warmer than I expected when I've been out in the cold (in this case I would expect below-freezing temps).