clouds, a reminder, and a mystery solved

This morning, the sky was filled with wave clouds (click on the above image for larger view). We sometimes see an area of ripples, but it’s rare to see almost the entire sky looking like this. I thought it was interesting how there seemed to be other clouds above, radiating out from the northeast horizon. Those seemed to be picking up some of the illumination from the rising sun. I did a quick check for information on such cloud formations and came up with this on If any of you can explain more about this type of formation, please do post a comment.

In the “odds and ends” department, one final reminder about the Circus of the Spineless invertebrate carnival. I’ll be posting it here at Burning Silo tomorrow. If you have a post that you would like to have included, send it to me a.s.a.p.!!! Although I realize it’s only been about 3 weeks or so since the last COTS, I’m going to publish it on March 31st to get us back on schedule as the last few editions gradually slid a few days over into the next month, and it was getting a little confusing. Anyhow, if all goes well, look for some nice invertebrate posts here sometime tomorrow!

Last item for today before I get back to work here (and yes, I’m still struggling along through some paperwork). Yesterday, a small mystery was solved right here on Burning Silo. As some of you may or may not remember, back on August 16, 2006, I posted photos of some very mysterious behaviour exhibited by some usual looking flies. At the time, I wrote:

Off hand, my guess is that the white blob may be the eggs of these flies and that one, or perhaps both, are exhibiting some form of egg-guarding behaviour — but I could be entirely wrong. Perhaps this is some Fly-God Shrine and the flies are gathering to worship. Or, the blob is something delectable that they’re planning to eat.

Well, it seems that I was a little bit right on one count, and entirely wrong on a couple. Yesterday, Matt Ireland, a student at Guelph University, and also a highly accomplished photographer (check out the photos galleries on his website), posted the following explanation:

The blob is secreted by the male to attract the female. The female feeds on the mass during and after the male mates with her. I hope this helps.

Well, indeed, it does help, Matt, so thank you. It never ceases to amaze me how explanations to puzzles eventually come filtering in as people come and go over this blog. In fact, that’s one of the things that I enjoy so much about having a blog. Okay — well, back to work. Stay tuned for Circus of the Spineless coming up tomorrow.

  • Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Trackback URI:
  • Comments RSS 2.0

7 Responses to “clouds, a reminder, and a mystery solved”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    That’s a great shot of wave-formation clouds. What a beautiful sky. Good link to the explanation too!

  2. Larry Ayers Says:

    I always enjoy seeing photos of the myriad sky-scenes I’ve missed, which of course is most of them!

    The white fly-blob is something I’ve not heard of or seen before; thanks for the photo and explanation!

  3. Xris (Flatbush Gardener) Says:

    Waves always fascinate me. They appear on all scales of time and space, in all media. A great, and surprising to me, example is fir waves.

    Watching waves crashing on a beach, or crossing the sky, I try to wrap my mind around the idea that the waves are not the primary phenomenon. They are an emergent property of something bigger, something otherwise invisible to me. They are evidence of complexity, in the mathematical sense, at work. They prove that a static, unchanging world – or a designed, created world – would be a dead world.

  4. Cathy Says:

    OK. I’m sorry but that fly aphrodisiac monolith thing is too funny. Am I the only one that sees something (ahem) . . ‘phallic’ – here? Sorry, but you posted the dang thing :0)
    Maybe you were sharing the same sense of the thing when earlier you mentioned the Fly God Shrine.
    The cloud picture is spectacular.

  5. burning silo Says:

    robin – It really was a beautiful sky. What I couldn’t show in a photo was how rapidly but smoothly the waves were moving from west to east. It was quite extraordinary!

    Larry – I think many people miss out on seeing the sky. At our place, we’ve got a clear view of most of our horizon so it’s hard not to notice interesting cloud formations.

    Xris – My brother and I were just talking about that last night… the similarity betweent hese phenomena. We compared notes on ripples in the sand under a couple of feet of water in the river in front of our family cottage. The effect was very similar. The fir waves were very neat! Thanks for posting that link.

    Cathy – Well, now that you mention it, I guess it *does* look a little phallic! Until now, I’d been thinking that it looked sort of like a big candy floss blob.

  6. Mark Says:

    Waves happen all the time in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is just a fluid, and it behaves pretty much like any fluid, including water. It’s when the waves occur at just the right altitude, as explained in the link, that you get to see visual evidence of them. The other wave mentioned in the link (lenticular) is similar to the water wave you see when a stream flows over a just-submerged rock. As I think I have mentioned at Niches, my natural inclination is to look up, and thus I miss a lot of the details you and he see closer to my feet. I also spent most of a quarter attacking the equations dealing with atmospheric waves in an atmospheric dynamics class many years ago. Don’t ask for the details.

  7. burning silo Says:

    Mark – That’s interesting! I’ve never really thought of atmosphere behaving like fluid, but yes, it makes sense. Neat about the lenticular wave as, being a paddler, I am always interested in the look of water flowing around slightly submerged rocks. Uhm… not, I won’t ask for the details of the atmospheric dynamics class, but I have always had an interest in fluid dynamics just because I love being around streams and rivers so much.