18 September 2013

Just pop it in your mouth and...

Small brown bird, big blue sea.

The bird above is a Monteiro's Storm-petrel identified by means of a combination of structural and plumage features (ruling out all but the other close congeners in the 'band-rumped' complex) and the state of moult, which given the whopping great 'step' in the inner primaries suggests an adult in active primary moult at the end of its summer breeding season. 

The sea below is blue is due to the combined effects of the scattering and absorption of sunlight.  The scattering, similar to that which occurs in the sky, is strongly wavelength dependent and has the effect of enhancing the shorter wavelengths.  However, unlike in the sky, absorption also has an effect, in water, the longer wavelengths of sunlight are absorbed more strongly than the shorter wavelengths.  In combination these processes cause the sea to appear blue.

And that, dear reader,... is how to suck eggs.

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