July 21 – 27, 2014 Kaw Valley Almanac

July 21, 2014


12 thoughts on “July 21 – 27, 2014 Kaw Valley Almanac

  1. I counted at least eight vultures just beyond the Kaw River Bridge for several days, then none yesterday. Maybe they were all away at a road kill party. Or as is often the case with natural things, I don’t really know vulture ways that well.


    • Many if not most vulture flocks are intergenerational and their social behavior greatly contributes to their survival and thrival skills.They are one of the few birds who have a well developed sense of smell, odd as that sounds to our olfactory sensibilities. Of course when you watch the kinds of attention a dog gives to sensing the olfactory landscape, it should not be too surprising that smells quite repugnant to our noses create a very different reaction to the vulture.


      • As many as four were back today. With a strong south wind deflecting upward from the levee, this could be an appealing location for the vultures. How much can they see from that elevation (other soaring birds as well)? What does it mean that they continue to circle in the same area rather than ranging farther abroad?

        In other reading, I learned that dogs register certain odors ten to the sixth power more faint than humans can detect. I’m suspecting that scent molecules carried on the wind might reach the high soaring vulture.


  2. Ken…do you have a link to the position on the horizon the sun and moon rises on any given day? If you do, will you please share it here? More and more I find myself wanting to photograph a specific sun or moon rise along with a specific landscape, not knowing for sure if the sun or moon will be positioned in the sky for the image I have in mind when I arrive at the location. “Northeast,” “East,” and “Southeast” can mean many miles of difference within each category, especially when I would like to capture the sun or moon rising exactly at some point between two buildings…ugh…ah well, the predilections of a perfectionist photographer lol. Anyway, thanks for your help and especially the Almanac…a wonderment indeed…


    • There are any number of “ephemeris” websites where you can look up this information–one easy one can be found here: http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/usa/lawrence This website also has sun settings, but I just gave you the moon rise and set page. If you look, for instance at the July 26 2014 rise and set times for the moon for Lawrence (you can look up any city on this website), you’ll see that the rise time (6:10am) is followed by a number (70 degrees) as is the moonset time (8:14pm/288 degrees). The degrees refers to the moon’s “azimuth” coordinates, which is an imaginary 360 degree circle at the horizon, with 0 degrees being due north, 90 degrees being due east, 180 degrees south, and 270 being due west. So the moon on July 26 rises 20 degrees north of due east (90 degrees minus 20 = 70) and sets 18 degrees north of due west (270 + 18 = 288). Some compasses have 360 degree settings on their face, so you can figure out where 20 degrees north of east direction is, and there are probably apps out there that do the same thing.

      Similarly, most planetarium/astronomical observation software programs will generate this information for you as well as giving you exact sun and moon coordinates for any given time of any day, and there are no doubt apps that will do this (I’m one of the few who don’t carry a smart phone so others may be better resources for you here). For instance I have a freeware program called Skychart/Cartes du Ciel where I can punch in any date and time to locate where in the sky the sun and moon are after punching the “ephemeris” button. The coordinate system used to describe the local position of the sun/moon is called “altazimuth” or altitude-azimuth. I’ve already described the azimuth being where on the 360 circle the sun/moon is located; besides that you need to know how far above the horizon it is. So, for instance, if the moon’s azimuth is 120 degrees and the altitude is 60 degrees, that means that you would look 30 degrees south of due east (or southeast) and up 60 degrees from the horizon, or around 2/3 of the way up to being straight overhead.

      Hope this helps! Good luck in your photographic endeavors–feel free to share/upload a link to any successes you have!


  3. Ken…thank you so VERY much! You are a wonderment of helpful information! Please forgive for my not having responded sooner. Will for sure share any successes. Along those lines, are we only able to post links to where we might store images or are we able to upload images from our own puters? If we can upload from our puters, how do we do that? Again, thank you…


  4. If you just send links/attach photos to an email to seasonsandcycles@yahoo.com I’ll be happy to post any relevant photos on this website. If you have a picasa or snapfish or flikr account, you can just share a link to your uploaded pics, like I have on the right column of this website (see “more photos” link). Alternatively, you can post your link in the reply to this comment.

    Thanks in advance for sharing!


    • I might add the obvious: a photograph of a setting sun or moon looks just exactly like a rising sun or moon and is easier to pinpoint its location in order to align it for interesting configurations. I particularly like to watch the setting moon during the several mornings that follow the full moon–west horizons are frequently clear in the morning. The same goes with the sun at sunset, with the added bonus of looking for the “green flash” that can occur on the horizon as the orb of the sun slips below the horizon. This phenomenon is observed most commonly over the ocean on the clearest of days, but I know one person who observed it in the Flint Hills.


  5. Thank you, Ken, obvious perhaps, but well worth the reminder. How often does the obvious escape us? I hope sometime I can catch that “green flash” in the Flint Hills, but just being in the Flint Hills is always enough.


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