Eclipsed

By now, you have probably seen tons of photos of the recent eclipse and they are sure to be better than mine. My point and shoot camera just did not do it justice or translate the light very well into digital format. But I am going to share a few with you anyway.

We decided to not drive to the path of totality. Maybe that was a mistake, as we missed the coolest part of being able to take off the eclipse glasses and see the sun halo. Boise was in 99.5% totality and we figured that was good enough for us. And it was still very cool, eerie and weird.

We drove up Lucky Peak to the Intermountain Bird Observatory. We had never been there even though it is just outside of town. Frank thought there would be just a lookout point. But when we arrived at the top, we were surprised to see a whole research area set up and scientists living there for the summer.

 

 

The set up was a yurt and some large tents, along with smaller individual tents scattered throughout the area for the researchers. The researchers were from all over. There was a gal from Mozambique, a guy from the UK. They said there was someone from Germany and people from the East and West coast. The observatory is set up in conjunction with Boise State University.

 

 

When we arrived they had several birds they were banding and recording information about. We learned this was an important stop on the birds’ migration route, as it was the last forested area before the desert. They stop and refuel here and build up fat for the journey.

We asked questions and they let us help release the birds, which meant our hands were used as a launching pad. Anna and I both gave it a go.

 

 

They have lightweight nets set up in several areas to catch the birds. The birds fly into them and are caught but not hurt. They check the nets every 30 minutes, around the clock, I think they said.

 

A fly catcher waiting to be released.

At one point, I observed the scientists blowing on the birds’ bellies. I wondered what that was about. One of them explained that the bird skin is see-through. By blowing, they move the feathers out of the way so they can look at the skin and how much fat is underneath. They make note of this in their data. I got to see what it looked like. The bird we were looking at didn’t have much fat.

Here is one of the views from the observatory.

 

 

Learning about the research and birds was an added bonus to our eclipse adventure. But we left the people to their work and moved away from the trees to a more open spot to view the eclipse.

 

Anna and Frank are ready for the eclipse.

We were not alone, of course. Their was another couple at the same spot, too. Two more people had hiked up and chatted for a few minutes, but they decided to go find another spot. We could see the ski resort, Bogus Basin, from where we were.

 

Bogus Basin ski area in the background.

 

I have no dramatic pictures, but maybe you can see a little bit of a difference in the next photo which was close to or during the 99.5% totality.  It looked a little bit darker than that.

 

 

It was a very interesting experience.  The temperature definitely got cooler and the lighting was really different.  The birds didn’t do anything unusual.

It was a bit of a hazy day.  I liked the atmospheric effect of the mountains.

 

 

We didn’t wait for it to totally wane as Frank needed to get back to work.  So it was still eclipsing a little bit driving back to the city.

 

The drive back.

SaveSave

SaveSave

2 comments to Eclipsed

  • kathy loomis

    I made the same decision you did, to settle for the coverage at home (96%) instead of an expedition to 100% coverage. My son did go for the expedition — it took 2 hours to drive there in the morning and 5 1/2 hours to drive back afterwards in the traffic jam — and I don’t know whether I’m happy or unhappy that I didn’t go with him! Your “totality” darkness was about the same as ours — lots more light from even a sliver of sun than you might think possible. And yes, the light was strange, in some way that I could not identify or articulate. Quite an experience! I’m glad we had beautiful clear skies to see it all.

    • Lisa Flowers Ross

      Yes. We were fortunate to have clear skies as well. Even without totality, it was quite an experience.