Weather in the Foothills

“Rosy clouds were spread like flowers in the sun’s pathway…

The singing world of the air hung exulting in hues of heavenly blue.

Sparks of clouds darted up from gold bars along the horizon; at last the flames

Of the sun streamed over the earth.”

~ Jean Paul Friedrich Richter

And so was our sunset Sunday evening. A monsoonal flow came up from Mexico bringing a few rain showers, humidity, 100-degree temperatures and an amazing sunset. At the same instant to the east, a faint rainbow spread across the sky. A dark gray-blue cloudbank gave background and an added brilliant contrast to the rainbow’s colors. Perfect start to a new week…

Along with hopes of rain for the upcoming season, I am putting aside any serious weather topics and turning to fun. Been outdoors at night recently? The very definition of peace and quiet will dictate your experience. A nightly serenade is heard throughout our neighborhood. Crickets keep up a steady chirping throughout the night, with an occasional bark or yip of a canine variety. There is one consistent sound, though; it begins long before sunset and continues hours past sunrise. No, the source is not freeway traffic. This one has feathers.

Northern mockingbirds are well known as night callers. On warm summer nights from high atop tree branches and utility lines their calls or singing comes forth. Most likely the singing is to mark territory and to attract a mate during nesting season. It has been said the males make up for their lack of colorful plumage with a remarkable voice and musical repertoire. Clever birds they are too. They can mimic the sounds of bells, whistles, car alarms, squeaky doors, barks and meows. Interestingly, the year-around resident mockingbird anticipates the arrival of migrant songbirds and launches into songs of migrants two to three weeks prior to their arrival. A real Statue of Liberty of the bird-world – welcome!

By Independence Day the hot and sticky overcast conditions are expected to move on. Temperatures are expected to drop 10 degrees as cool breezes move off the ocean. The skies of our inland location will be clear for the Fourth of July celebration. Rainbows last week and now the fireworks.

Happy Birthday, America!

Sue Kilpatrick is a

Crescenta Valley resident and

Official Skywarn Spotter for the

National Weather Service. Reach her at