NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, January 15, 2021 (Friday)
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Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
**Sue and Steve Berube have been walking on the
Riverview Marsh this week hoping to see the owls. On Wednesday afternoon
at 4:00 PM, they were able to capture some photos of a SHORT-EARED OWL being
harassed by crows.
This aerial show was quite high above them, a real thrill to see. They have learned to pay attention when the crows are making a fuss. The owl escaped unscathed. These were taken on the trail in front of the water treatment plant, about halfway out to the shelter on the point.
I have often wondered why crows are so intent on harassing a 15 in. bird but seems to a crow that an owl is an owl and that's that! There seems to be a dramatic increase in the number of crows present at dusk on the marsh and expect the owls (felt to be at least 5) are not amused.
**Jim Carroll found more information on the ATLANTIC LUMPFISH we met yesterday courtesy of Alyre Chiasson in Jim's Common Loon photo. Maybe this use will cross the pond.
Apparently, they're used in European Aquaculture as "cleaner " fish. They are turning sea lice into caviar. Check out the interesting link below: https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?id=7312380&pid=14818& <https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?id=7312380&pid=14818&>
** Ray Gauvin photographed two SEALS [Phoque] on ice floes out from Pointe-du-chêne wharf on Tuesday, showing a significant difference in size. Photos are attached. Dr. Jack Terhune reviewed the photos, and his comments are attached below:
“I think that they are two Harp Seals, a juvenile, the un-spotted one, and a young adult. It is too early in the season for the younger seal to have been born this year and it does not have the face of a Grey Seal. Grey Seals are born (whelp) around Christmas time.”
** Yolande LeBlanc shares an interesting scenario of a male NORTHERN CARDINAL [Cardinal rouge] she has as a regular. It does not come to the feeders with the other birds but is seen foraging on the seeds of a cultivar bush Yolande has in her yard called “Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis).” Yolande suggests that anyone who may have one of these bushes to watch for it being used by seed-eating birds. Yolande comments that she sees the cardinal at the bush most often in the mornings.
** Clarence Cormier seems to have the AMERICAN TREE SPARROW [Bruant hudsonien] capitol. He was able to count 40 which probably means the real number is actually higher. That many got the attention of a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK [Épervier brun] that Clarence got a photo of. He also has a significant presence of many of the expected regulars including 8 RING-NECKED PHEASANTS [Faisan de Colchide].
** Yvette Richard prepared her own suet seed bar to have a DOWNY WOODPECKER [Pic mineur] give it an immediate stamp of approval. Yvette also photographed a male COMMON EIDER [Eider à duvet] with going the other way in mind, and she also got a great photo of a beautiful sunrise taken outside her Cocagne window. Hard to beat the feeling that image leaves!
** Jane LeBlanc reports her YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER [Paruline à croupion jaune] continues to be a regular patron. Jane’s photo shows the split white eye-ring of this species and a view of the undertail that can sometimes be a very helpful clue in warbler identification. This scenario also shows how over-wintering warblers stay very faithful to a food source and of course, for good reason.
** Lois Budd is one lucky landlady with two PILEATED WOODPECKERS [Grand pic] as patrons coming near-Salisbury yard to partake of her suet blend. It would be assumed they are indeed a pair and this would be their territory. Lois’ photo shows one to be a male with the red mustache and the fully red crown, but the photo angle misses the features to confirm female as the second bird.
** It is Friday and time to review what we can see in the night sky over the next week, courtesy of sky-guru Curt Nason.
Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2021 January 16 – 2021 January 23
Bright stars and eye-catching asterisms such as Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper and the Pleaides were obvious targets to immortalize earthly creatures and activities. Rather than Orion being a hunter and the giant son of Poseidon, to the Egyptians he was Osiris, the god of light, riding up the Nile on a boat. In parts of China he was Commander Tsan, protecting farmers from barbarians seeking to steal their winter supplies. Brazilian tribes saw the figure as a turtle, or as the body of a giant caiman with its tail and head extending to constellations above and below Orion. The Inuit saw Orion’s belt and sword as three hunters pulling a sledge and chasing a bear, represented by the red star Betelgeuse, into the sky.
The Big Dipper forms the back half of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. In Britain it is The Plough, ancient Germans saw it as seven plowing oxen, and for others it was obviously a cart. Local First Nations people saw the bowl of the Big Dipper as a bear and the handle stars, along with other stars in the constellation Boötes, as hunters. The hunters, who are named for birds, chase the bear from spring to autumn until only the three closest hunters remain above the horizon, at which time the bear is slain by Robin. The bear’s blood stains Robin’s chest and the leaves of the trees.
The Pleiades represent seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione and they mark the shoulder of Taurus the Bull. The Maori of New Zealand imagined them as the prow of their founder’s canoe, with the upper half of Orion forming the stern. Cherokee legend in the southeastern United States tells of seven boys who, in response to being punished for not working, performed a Feather Dance and ascended to the sky. To the Ojibwe, Orion was the Wintermaker and the Pleiades the Hole-in-the-Sky.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:56 am and sunset will occur at 5:01 pm, giving 9 hours, 5 minutes of daylight (7:58 am and 5:09 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:51 am and set at 5:11 pm, giving 9 hours, 20 minutes of daylight (7:53 am and 5:19 pm in Saint John).
The Moon is at first quarter on Wednesday, passing below Uranus and Mars in the early evening. Midweek Uranus will be the brightest “star” half a binocular field below Mars. Jupiter might still be visible in binoculars this weekend, setting 40 minutes after sunset. Mercury should be visible in binoculars and setting at 6:30 pm this weekend, and next weekend it reaches greatest elongation from the Sun. Mars is high in the south in evening twilight, glowing as brightly as Vega. Venus rises an hour before sunrise this weekend and in a few weeks it will be welcoming Saturn and Jupiter to the morning sky.
With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm, and view archived shows, on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAEHfOWyL-kNH7dBVHK8spg
Questions? Contact Curt Nason at email@example.com.