Friday, 19 August 2016

Aug 19 2016

** Gordon Rattray shares photos of a SANDPIPER [Bécasseau] flock at Johnson's Mills that he photographed 4.5 seconds apart to show that awesome in-unison turn of the whole flock as if a squadron under one commander. The flock size was estimated at 30,000. Gordon comments that his BARN SWALLOW [Hirondelle rustique] group that use his barn all fledged 10 days ago with approximately 15 new youngsters in the air. AMERICAN KESTRELS [Crécerelle d'Amérique], up to 3 at the moment, have moved in, and there's some taking of swallows as prey. Gordon comments that RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDs [Colibri à gorge rubis] are very numerous, taking two litres of nector a day for the past weeks. He noted only one adult male on August 17th.
** More caterpillars are appearing. Mac Wilmot came across the colourful SMARTWEED CATERPILLAR on the move recently.
** Jamie and Karen Burris were in the Turtle Creek area on Thursday to note two NORTHERN HARRIERS [Busard Saint-Martin], a co-operative NORTHERN PEARLY-EYE butterfly and a dragonfly Gilles Belliveua suspects to be a female Saffron-winged Meadow hawk. He comments it does appear to have yellowish wing venation along the front of the wings and a yellow stigma (would be reddish on males). Also, there appears to be minimal dark markings on the side of the abdomen and the legs are mostly black so the combination of these features would seem to rule out other possibilities.
** This week's Sky-at-a-Glance is added to this transcription, courtesy of Curt Nason.
This Week’s Sky at a Glance, August 20 – August 27
Around 10 pm, if you look to the south you might notice the Teapot
asterism of Sagittarius the Archer. Sagittarius is an old constellation
of a centaur with a bow and arrow. The Teapot forms the human upper body
of the centaur, aiming to release the arrow toward Scorpius the
Scorpion. If he tries to shoot Aquila the Eagle above, chances are the
arrow will be deflected by a shield.

Scutum the Shield is a relatively new constellation, created by the
Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the late 17th century. It
commemorates the Polish king John Sobieski III, who defended his country
against the Turks. Originally named Scutum Sobiescianum - Sobieski’s
Shield - it is generally just called the Shield. Seeing it can be
difficult, for its main stars are dim and shielded within the Milky Way.
One way to locate it is to find its most prominent deep sky object, the
Wild Duck Cluster or M11.

Find the bright star Altair in the head of Aquila, then identify the
wings and tail of the eagle. Binoculars will reveal a string of stars
leading from the tail to the cluster, which sits at the top of the
shield. The rich Wild Duck Cluster looks good in binoculars and great in
a scope, and an imaginative observer can see a V-shape or maybe two.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:25 am and sunset will occur at
8:19 pm, giving 13 hours, 54 minutes of daylight (6:32 am and 8:22 pm in
Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:34 am and set at 8:06
pm, giving 13 hours, 32 minutes of daylight (6:40 am and 8:10 pm in
Saint John).

The Moon is at third quarter early Thursday morning, rising at midnight
and setting by 3 pm. In the latter half of the week Mercury, Venus and
Jupiter might be visible together in the same binocular field 15-20
minutes after sunset. Venus will be the brightest, to the right of
Jupiter, with dimmer Mercury a challenge to their lower left. Venus
passes very closely above Jupiter on the evening of August 27 and you
might need binoculars to separate them. They will be at their closest
within an hour before sunset, about a hand span to the upper left of the
Sun. Blocking the Sun behind a tree or building, see if you can spot
them in binoculars or a scope. Not to be outdone and much easier to see,
Mars passes between Saturn and Antares on Tuesday and Wednesday; 2
degrees above the similarly coloured star and 4 degrees below the ringed
planet.

Questions? Contact me at
nasonc@nbnet.nb.ca
Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton
AMERICAN KESTREL.AUG 17. 2016. GORDON RATTRAY

SMARTWEED CATERPILLAR.AUG 16, 2016.MAC WILMOT

NORTHERN PEARLY-EYE BUTTERFLY. AUG 18, 2016.JAMIE BURRIS

NORTHERN HARRIER. AUG 18, 2016.JAMIE BURRIS

SAFFRON-WINGED MEADOWHAWK (FEMALE) DRAGONFLY. AUG 18, 2016.JAMIE BURRIS

SAFFRON-WINGED MEADOWHAWK (FEMALE) DRAGONFLY. AUG 18, 2016.JAMIE BURRIS

Scutum

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS.a.AUGUST 7, 2016.GORDON RATTRAY

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS.b.AUGUST 7, 2016.GORDON RATTRAY