Friday, 6 April 2018

April 6, 2018

NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, April 6, 2018 (Friday)


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

For more information on Nature Moncton, check into the website at
www.naturemoncton.com

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.

** Brian Coyle was awakened at 5:15 AM on Thursday morning to a duet of two GREAT HORNED OWLS [Grand-duc d'Amérique] playing their characteristic 5-note hoot, each taking its turn.  They moved from separate locations to alight on the top of a dead Tamarack snag 20 ft from his house about one foot apart from each other.  They continued the duet for approximately 15 minutes or so, and then flew off as day light approached.  Unfortunately, the light was too dim to get a photograph.  There is an abandoned Ravens’ nest near the site they were vocalizing which could make a suitable nest site as the Great-horned Owl does not build its own nest, choosing to take over one that another raptor has used, usually one that is vacant, or at least vacant at the time of nesting in the case of Osprey nests.

** Ron Steeves spent four hours out on Cape Enrage parked where the little lookout used to be.  Unbelievable winds for Thursday, but there was a fair movement of Sea Ducks around mid-morning.  Conditions kept changing between mist, fog, snow squall and rain along with rough seas, making it difficult to spot and identify birds at a distance.  Ron thinks that generally the Sea Ducks that he saw either had been staging in the Waterside area and lifted off to come around the point just to the right, or came up the bay, flying around the Waterside basin and shoreline, then around the point.  Most don’t seem to want to fly overland.  Obviously, with the weather conditions on Thursday, things were different for them.  Practically all the Sea Ducks came directly up the middle of the bay and were at a much further distance away, making them hard to see let alone identify to species.  He suspects that many birds got by that he missed.  The birds were being escorted up the bay with the wind as their aid, not allowing much time to count and record.  Flocks that were able to be identified often were a mix of Eiders and Scoters that seemed more unusual than normal.  Here’s what Ron recorded at the Cape:  852 Scoters, probably mostly BLACK SCOTERS [Macreuse noire]; 402 COMMON EIDERS [Eider à duvet], 371 SEA DUCKS.  Ron spent a couple of hours at the New Horton church with only 2 or 3 BALD EAGLES [Pygargue à tête blanche] around, probably locals, and a NORTHERN HARRIER [Busard Saint-Martin] displaying over the meadow to the south.  Ron says he might go back down today if they don’t take him away to the funny farm first!

** Marguerite Winsor’s family were watching a group of 25 SNOW BUNTING [Bruant des neiges] dancing about the ice/snow crust, battling the very strong winds of Thursday in Fairisle near Neguac.  They were able to get a very close photo of one to show the very long spur-like nails they had not noticed before.  If this is their normal footwear, they are very equipped for clinging on to substrate.  We just don’t often see a photo this close to observe this part of their anatomy.

** Brian Stone placed a few handfuls of feed around his backyard to bring in two DARK-EYED JUNCOS [Junco ardoisé], two SONG SPARROWS [Bruant chanteur] and a female RING-NECKED PHEASANT [Faisan de Colchide] pretending not to be noticed.  He also had 15 AMERICAN ROBINS [Merle d'Amérique] in his yard on Thursday morning,

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

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, April 7 - April 14

Although Orion and his two dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are
slipping into the sunset, they are not the only pooches in the night
sky. The small constellation of Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs is
generally seen as a pair of stars well below the handle of the Big
Dipper. They assist their master, Boötes, in chasing the celestial bears
around the pole.

In one tale from mythology Boötes is Icarius, a vineyard owner who was
taught the art of winemaking by Bacchus. He introduced his shepherd
neighbours to his product, and when they awoke hung over the next
morning they thought they had been poisoned. In retaliation they killed
Icarius and threw him in a ditch. His dogs, Chara and Asterion, sensed
something was wrong and when they eventually found their master they
jumped into the ditch to die with him.

The brightest star in Canes Venatici is a double star called Cor Caroli,
which means the heart of Charles. Edmond Halley coined this because it
was said the star shone brightly when Charles II returned to London
after his defeat by Cromwell. Halfway between Cor Caroli and Arcturus,
the brightest star in Boötes, you can see a fuzzy patch with binoculars.
This is the globular star cluster M3 from Messier’s catalogue.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:47 am and sunset will occur at
7:55 pm, giving 13 hours, 8 minutes of daylight (6:53 am and 7:59 pm in
Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:34 am and set at 8:05
pm, giving 13 hours, 31 minutes of daylight (6:40 am and 8:08 pm in
Saint John).

The Moon is at third quarter on Sunday, rising at 3 am and setting at
12:30 pm. It is near Mercury on the morning of April 14 but both will be
difficult to see even with binoculars. Venus is slowly creeping higher
in the west after sunset and is seen easily in twilight. Jupiter, Saturn
and Mars continue to give good observing opportunities in the morning
sky before 6 am, with the bonus of having the Moon near Saturn and Mars
this weekend.

The Saint John Astronomy Club meets on Saturday, April 7 at 7 pm in the
Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre. The William Brydone Jack Astronomy
Club meets at the UNB Fredericton Forestry / Earth Sciences building at
7 pm on Tuesday. All are welcome.

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


Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton
 
DARK-EYED JUNCO (MALE). APRIL 05, 2018. BRIAN STONE

Hunting Dogs

RING-NECKED PHEASANT ( FEMALE ). APRIL 05, 2018.  BRIAN STONE

RING-NECKED PHEASANT ( FEMALE ). APRIL 05, 2018.  BRIAN STONE

SNOW BUNTING (SHOWING LONG SPUR-LIKE CLAWS). APRIL 5, 2018.MARGUERITE WINSOR 

SNOW BUNTING (SHOWING LONG SPUR-LIKE CLAWS). APRIL 5, 2018.MARGUERITE WINSOR 

SONG SPARROW. APRIL 05, 2018. BRIAN STONE