Friday, 20 April 2018

April 20 2018

NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, April 20, 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)
To respond by e-mail, please address your message to the information line editor nelson@nb.sympatico.ca.

** Lois Budd reports a pleasant week birding, watching a RING-NECKED PHEASANT [Faisan de Colchide] play King of the Hill on Tuesday, and enjoying AMERICAN WOODCOCK [Bécasse d'Amérique] displaying on the Taylor Rd, reminding her of whirligigs flying.  But the week was capped by a GREAT EGRET [Grande Aigrette] in the Salisbury wetlands area.  This bird has a very noticeable black spot on the back of the neck which goes unexplained.  A GREEN-WINGED TEAL [Sarcelle d'hiver] is concealed in the background of one of Lois’s Egret photos.  Several Great Egrets have been reported in Nova Scotia.  Are they starting to come a bit farther now, into New Brunswick?

** Jim Saunders got a nice photo of a MOOSE [Orignal] foraging on branches near Miramichi.  It clearly shows the area on the shoulder blade where Moose Ticks, aka Winter Ticks gather.  They also gather in the back and rump area.  They are large, near grape-sized, ticks when engorged and will be falling off now to continue their life cycle.  They are very specific to Moose and no danger to humans.  I suspect the Moose must be relieved to see their annual winter nemesis leave, but will be replaced by the Moose Fly, a fly species very specific to Moose as well.  The hair will be growing back soon to cover the tick infested areas. 

** Dave Christie reports he had a call from John Inman at 225 Mary’s Point Rd. that a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER [Pic maculé] and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER [Paruline à croupion jaune] had arrived to his yard on Thursday, two newbies for the season.  John also comments that he noted his first DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT [Cormoran à aigrettes] in the Shepody River from his home on Wednesday, and on Thursday, a group of 6 were spotted.

** Dave himself comments that it would seem there was an overnight influx of NORTHERN FLICKERS [Pic flamboyant] and AMERICAN ROBINS [Merle d'Amérique] on Wednesday night as they seemed very numerous along the local roadways on Thursday.  Dave also comments that he has noted that PINE SISKINS [Tarin des pins] seemed to be gathering roadside grit on Caledonia Mountain on Thursday, a species that he and the rest of us have not seen in abundance this season at feeders, but for some reason, there have been lots of reports of them doing the roadside scenario Dave mentions.

** Annette and Brian Stone took a short stroll in Mapleton Park on Thursday to comment that there seemed to be SONG SPARROWS [Bruant chanteur] everywhere that were being very vocal.  RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD [Carouge à épaulettes] males were obvious at the ponds now, and it was interesting to watch a female RING-NECKED PHEASANT [Faisan de Colchide] and a RAVEN interact.

** This week’s Sky-at-a-Glance is added to this edition, courtesy of Curt Nason.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, April 21 - April 28

Sometimes I like to go tooling around in twilight with binoculars,
picking off the bright stars as they emerge or even before they are
visible to the naked eye. This time of year you can nab seven of the ten brightest in twilight and maybe another four of the next ten. Toward the southwest, Sirius, the brightest star of the night sky, might be the first you see, possibly flashing colours as our atmosphere acts like a prism for starlight. Next stop is lower to the west for #7, Rigel in Orion’s knee, which sets just an hour and a half after the Sun. Orange Betelgeuse, #10, will be well above it with the three belt stars in between.

Less than a hand span to the lower right of Betelgeuse is orange
Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull and wearing lucky #13. See if you can pick out the Pleiades about two binocular widths to its right. This star cluster can be entertaining when it is low, with numerous stars twinkling like a Christmas tree. High above is #6 Capella, which often takes on a yellowish hue. Also fairly high is #9 Procyon, forming the peak of an equilateral triangle with Sirius and Betelgeuse. To its upper right is #16 Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins.

Before heading east for more stars have a look at Venus to the right of Aldebaran. It is much brighter than the stars and can be seen easily with binoculars before sunset. Then, head eastward for #4 Arcturus at about the same altitude as Capella. How does its colour compare with that of Capella? Look for almost equally bright #5 Vega low in the northeast, although the thicker atmosphere at that altitude will rob some of its brightness. To its lower left you will eventually catch #20
Deneb, and #14 Spica shines in the southeast to the lower right of
Arcturus. Regulus, between Spica and Pollux, comes in at #21. Happy star
hunting.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:22 am and sunset will occur at 8:14 pm, giving 13 hours, 52 minutes of daylight (6:28 am and 8:17 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:10 am and set at 8:23 pm, giving 14 hours, 13 minutes of daylight (6:17 am and 8:26 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is at first quarter Sunday, possibly yielding a view of the
Lunar X with a telescope in late afternoon or evening twilight. Look just within the shadow line a little below centre. On Tuesday, late afternoon, you might able to see the star Regulus to the right of the Moon with a scope. Venus outshines the bright stars of winter in the western sky after sunset, while Jupiter, Saturn and Mars offer great viewing in the morning sky. On Sunday evening look for a few meteors coming from between the constellations of Lyra and Hercules, as the Lyrid shower peaks in the afternoon.

If the sky is clear this weekend, look for amateur astronomers offering views of the sky for Astronomy Day.

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


Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton
 
DARK-EYED JUNCO. APRIL 19, 2018. BRIAN STONE

GREAT EGRET.APRIL 19, 2018. LOIS BUDD 

GREAT EGRET.APRIL 19, 2018. LOIS BUDD 

MOOSE. APRIL 18, 2018. JIM SAUNDERS 

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (MALE). APRIL 19, 2018. BRIAN STONE

RING-NECKED PHEASANT AND RAVEN. APRIL 19, 2018. BRIAN STONE

SONG SPARROW.  APRIL 19, 2018. BRIAN STONE

SONG SPARROW.  APRIL 19, 2018. BRIAN STONE

Twilight stars