NATURE MONCTON NATURE NEWS
May 20, 2022 (Friday)
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** Louise Nichols spent three very enjoyable hours on the Tankville Trail (behind the Tankville School) in Moncton on Thursday morning. The highlight of her time there was a pair of Winter Wrens which were in full vocal mode and who did not seem shy about showing themselves before Louise's camera. She watched them for some time as they flew to different parts of the woods, chasing each other and perching to sing. Louise got a number of photographs and took a video of some of the action. Also present along the trail were many warblers, including a Black-throated Blue Warbler which sang constantly, but avoided Louise's camera. She was able to capture photos of a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat, the latter in the marshy area of the trail. She also heard singing and saw a pair of Brown Creepers and could hear a more distant Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Along the same trail, Louise saw her first dragonfly of the year -- a Beaverpond Baskettail . Evidently, there are not two many dragonflies out yet as this one was the only one Louise saw in the three hours she was there.
As always, this trail had lots to offer.
Louise Nichols was very fortunate to capture a video of a Winter Wren very actively on its mission. We just don’t very often see this little bird let alone get views like this. Take a look at the action at the attached link:
**David and Anita Cannon often hear Ovenbirds in the woods surrounding their home, but they rarely see them. On Wednesday, one dropped by and sat by their side door for a few minutes. The Cannons understand they eat slugs, and they have an abundance of them enjoying the young plants in their gardens, so perhaps that was the incentive behind the unusual visit.
Anita got a striking close-up to show the orange head patch that we don’t often see when we are lucky enough to see Ovenbirds.
**Clarence Cormier reports numerous birds keep visiting his Grande Digue property. He has identified the following:
2 Chipping Sparrows, joining the numerous Song, Savannah and White-throated sparrows.
Northern Parula Warblers (male and female), 3 Magnolia Warblers, 1 American Redstart, 2 Yellowthroat Warblers, and 1 Wilson’s warbler.
Also, a Least Flycatcher, a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, 1 Veery and a new species visiting his property (species #119) a female Northern Cardinal. (Editors note: what a welcome newbie!)
** Gordon Rattray made a visit to the old rail line in Hillsborough on Thursday morning looking for warblers. Gordon found eight warblers, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. In addition to the warbler group Gordon also saw a Gray Catbird- showing red under belly, a White-throated Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco. Overhead at different times two Bald Eagles were soaring high on the wind.
A male Ring-necked Pheasant was calling nearby and in the fields, Bobolinks were singing. What a great morning to be in the bush!
**Aldo Dorio was able to capture photos of a Gray Catbird and Hermit Thrush enjoying themselves on Hay Island on Thursday.
**It’s Friday already in time to review what next week sky has in store for us courtesy of sky guru Curt Nason:
This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 May 21 – May 28
By 10 pm the zigzag constellation of Draco the Dragon is halfway up the northern sky to the right of the Little Dipper. Draco’s tail is a line of stars between the Big and Little Dippers. One of those stars is Thuban, which lies between the bowl of the Little Dipper and the middle of the Big Dipper’s handle. About 5000 years ago, when the Egyptian pyramids were built, Thuban was the North Star and entrances to the pyramids were designed with a descending passageway aligned to this star. Coincidentally, the inner two stars of the Big Dipper’s bowl point to Thuban, just as the outer pair points toward Polaris.
From the tail, Draco arcs around the bowl of the Little Dipper and then curves back toward Hercules, with its head being a quadrilateral of stars by the strongman’s foot. The two brightest stars in Draco’s head, Eltanin and Rastaban, are its eyes. They are the brightest and third brightest of the constellation. The faintest of the four is a treat in binoculars, showing matching white stars that resemble headlights or cat eyes. In mythology, the dragon was one of the Titans, rivals of the Olympians. In one of their battles, Athena slung the dragon high into the northern sky. Writhing to right itself, it struck against the northern sky and froze in that position.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:40 am and sunset will occur at 8:51 pm, giving 15 hours, 11 minutes of daylight (5:48 am and 8:54 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 5:34 am and set at 8:59 pm, giving 15 hours, 25 minutes of daylight (5:42 am and 9:01 pm in Saint John).
The Moon reaches third quarter near Saturn on Sunday, and then passes below Mars and Jupiter over Tuesday and Wednesday and Venus on Friday. Mars is within a binocular view of Jupiter all week, closing in for a conjunction with the giant planet next weekend. Venus and Saturn bracket the line-up to the east and west, respectively. Mercury is at inferior conjunction this Saturday, joining the morning line dance of planets in mid-June.
On Sunday evening at 8 pm, tune in to the Sunday Night Astronomy Show via the Facebook page or YouTube channel of Astronomy by the Bay.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason at firstname.lastname@example.org.