Friday, 30 March 2018

March 30 2018

NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, March 30, 2018 (Friday)


Please advise editor at nelson@nb.sympatico.ca if any errors are noted in wording or photo labeling.

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Edited by: Nelson Poirier nelson@nb.sympatico.ca
Transcript by: Louise Nichols nicholsl@eastlink.ca
Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
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** A major attraction on Thursday was a CANVASBACK [Fuligule à dos blanc] duck that arrived to the Arthur St. lagoon in Memramcook.  Carmella Melanson got some great photos of this handsome duck, co-operatively by itself, beside an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK [Canard noir] to make a nice size comparison and a shot of it running on the water surface to lift off.  We have so little chance to see and study a Canvasback like in these photos.  Louise Nichols was also able to photograph it in the evening on Thursday.

** Louise Nichols used the pleasant day on Thursday to check out the lagoons around the Sackville area to be much rewarded.  The most interesting was the Sackville Waterfowl Park which is partly open now and bringing in customers.  Louise saw GADWALL [Canard chipeau], two RING-NECKED DUCKS [Fuligule à collier] (both male) an AMERICAN WIGEON [Canard d'Amérique] pair, and 5 male HOODED MERGANSERS [Harle couronné] in their best tuxedos.  The usual MALLARD [Canard colvert] ducks were also taking advantage of the opening water.  Louise comments that the ducks were like bright jewels in the sunlight!

** Peter and Deana Gadd did a run from Bouctouche Bay to Shediac in the sunshine and warmth on Thursday.  Many of the sea ducks were still there at their best.  Some of the wharfs were starting to show more open water areas, but ice still remained partially around some wharfs.  Their sight list included BLACK SCOTERS [Macreuse noire], one SURF SCOTER [Macreuse à front blanc], COMMON MERGANSERS [Grand Harle] and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS [Harle huppé], COMMON EIDERS [Eider à duvet], COMMON GOLDENEYE [Garrot à oeil d'or] and BARROW'S GOLDENEYE [Garrot d'Islande] and many CANADA GEESE [Bernache du Canada], SCAUP (expecting all to be GREATER SCAUP [Fuligule milouinan]) and a lot of roadside AMERICAN ROBINS [Merle d'Amérique].  Only a few AMERICAN BLACK DUCKs [Canard noir] and MALLARDS [Canard colvert] were seen at these sites.  A spotting scope was needed at most sites due to the ice.  Pointe-du-Chêne wharf was completely iced in, but they did find two GREAT BLUE HERONS [Grand Héron] in nearby South Cove which had an open brook through the snow.  A few photos are attached but Peter took a series of good photos of the two Great Blue Herons that can be seen at the attached link.

** Dave Christie reports some migratory activity in the Harvey area on Thursday.  He notes the most major influx of SONG SPARROWS [Bruant chanteur], counting 17 individuals between his home and along the road to the Shepody dam.  And he noted small flocks of COMMON GRACKLES [Quiscale bronzé], RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS [Carouge à épaulettes], and AMERICAN ROBINS [Merle d'Amérique] flying overhead, especially in the morning.  He later came across a flock of approximately 100 AMERICAN ROBINS [Merle d'Amérique], running about and foraging on the salt marsh.

** Brian Stone travelled toward the Hampton area on Thursday to get some very co-operative photos of some arriving birds.  Many folks seem to be reporting an advance of COMMON GRACKLES [Quiscale bronzé] and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS [Carouge à épaulettes] on Thursday and a few days before that appears to be a second wave after the earlier arrival of groups up to a month ago.  Brian photographed several WHITE-TAILED DEER [Cerf de Virginie] that are looking in excellent condition, ready for a strong start to the season.  He also photographed SUN DOGS and a SOLAR ARC that gets more explanation at the attached link.

** This week’s Sky-at-a-Glance is added to this edition, courtesy of Curt Nason.  Curt points out that it is the moon that decides the date for Easter.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, March 31 - April 7

Leo the Lion is regarded as the signature constellation of spring, and
it is not difficult to picture a lion in its distinctive pair of
asterisms. A backwards question mark or a sickle represents its chest
and mane, anchored by the bright star Regulus at its heart. To the east
a triangle of stars forms the back leg and tail. Originally, a faint
naked-eye cluster of stars represented a tuft at the end of the tail but
that now represents the tresses of Coma Berenices.

In mythology, the lion was a vicious creature that resided in the
mountains of Nemea. Its hide was impenetrable to spears or arrows; the
only thing sharp enough to penetrate it was the lion’s claws. The first
of Hercules’s twelve labours was to kill this creature, which the
legendary strongman did by strangulation. He then cut the lion’s hide
off with its claws and used the skin as a shield. A friend of mine sees
this constellation as a mouse, with the triangle as its head the sickle
as its tail. However, legends are not made by having a strongman battle
a mouse.

Amateur astronomers often point their telescopes at Leo for two trios of
galaxies; one under the belly and the other by the back leg. For each,
the trio can be seen simultaneously with a wide-field eyepiece. Five of
the six galaxies are Messier objects.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:01 am and sunset will occur at
7:46 pm, giving 12 hours, 45 minutes of daylight (7:06 am and 7:50 pm in
Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:47 am and set at 7:55
pm, giving 13 hours, 8 minutes of daylight (6:53 am and 7:59 pm in Saint
John).

The Mi’kmaq Maple Sugar full Moon occurs on Saturday, giving us Easter
on the following day as it is the Sunday after the first full Moon of
spring. In determining the date for Easter, March 21 is regarded as the
first day of spring regardless of when the equinox actually occurs.
Mercury is at inferior conjunction on Sunday and can be seen in the
morning sky, with difficulty, in late April. Venus can be seen low in
the west during evening twilight, setting after 9:30 pm. On Monday,
early risers can catch Mars in the same telescopic field of view as the
globular cluster M22, and can perhaps include Saturn with a low power
eyepiece. Mars is directly below Saturn on Tuesday. Jupiter now rises
around 11 pm and dominates the morning sky in the southwest.

The Saint John Astronomy Club meets on Saturday, April 7 at 7 pm in the
Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre. All are welcome.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason at
nasonc@nbnet.nb.ca.


Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton
 
AMERICAN WIGEON. LOUISE NICHOLS. MARCH 29, 2018

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE. MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE

CANVASBACK  DUCK running on water March 29 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON

CANVASBACK AND BLACK DUCK Size comparison March 29 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON

CANVASBACK March 29 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON

CANVASBACK March 29 2018 LOUISE NICHOLS
CIRCUMZENITHAL ARC. MAR. 29, 2018.  BRIAN STONE

COMMON GRACKLE. MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE

GADWALL. LOUISE NICHOLS. MARCH 28, 2018

GREAT BLUE HERON. MARCH 29, 2018. PETER GADD

GREAT BLUE HERONS. MARCH 29, 2018. PETER GADD

HOODED MERGANSER (MALE). LOUISE NICHOLS. MARCH 28, 2018

HOODED MERGANSERS AND AMERICAN WIGEON. LOUISE NICHOLS. MARCH 29, 2018

Leo_2018

PURPLE FINCH. MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE

RING-NECKED DUCK (MALE). LOUISE NICHOLS. MARCH 28, 2018

SOLAR HALO ( 22 DEG. ). MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE

SUNDOGS. MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE

WHITE-TAILED DEER. MAR. 29, 2018. BRIAN STONE