Thursday, July 21, 2016

Never Thought About That

Middlebury, Vermont

On the way to Woodstock, we stopped at an overlook site to take a picture.  Overlooks on Vermont highways are rare.

Reading the sign, we learned that the cliff you see in the picture on Mount Horrid, is very special.  It is nearly the only south facing rock cliff in the state.

First of all, it is true that Vermont's mountains have fewer bare rock cliffs than New York's Adirondacks or New Hampshires White Mountains.  But I never stopped to think about how many of those face which direction.   Vermont's mountains are dominated by nouth-south ridges, so their slopes face mostly east-west.

Second, what difference does the direction make?  A big difference it turns out, but it was not obvious to me.  South facing cliffs are warmed by the sun.  That makes them perfect temperature for brooding eggs, as well as offering protection from predators who can't reach the nests.

This particular cliff features perigrine falcons.  Aha!  Now I understand.

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