Friday, 30 November 2018

Nov 30 2018

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

To view the photos mentioned in this edition go to http://nminfoline.blogspot.ca

Please advise editor at nelsonpoirier435@gmail.com 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 nelsonpoirier435@gmail.com
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 nelsonpoirier435@gmail.com.

** Jean-Paul LeBlanc got a nice photo of an immature NORTHERN SHRIKE [Pie-grièche grise] on Tuesday that nicely shows the barred chest and flank as well as the brown tones.  Stella LeBlanc also got a photo of a male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH [Chardonneret jaune] in their Bouctouche feeder yard that has retained a lot of its breeding plumage much later in the season than its kin.

** Jane LeBlanc comments that she has never had a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER [Pic à ventre roux] in her St. Martins yard, though while visiting a neighbour on Wednesday, she reported having two.  Jane photographed a female and the neighbour said there was a second one she suspected to be a male.  Jane also comments on seeing three COMMON MERGANSERS [Grand Harle] on the St. Martins beach on Thursday afternoon.

** Phil Riebel got a nice photo of a FLYING SQUIRREL [Grand polatouche] in their Miramichi yard recently.  It shows the large eyes, rounded face and broad flattened tail.  There are no doubt many more Flying Squirrels out there than we think as they work the night shift and easily go unnoticed. 

** Another note on FLYING SQUIRRELS – Elaine Gallant had one visit her Parlee Beach feeders at 10:30 on Wednesday night.

** Lynda Leclerc reports she had her first-ever NORTHERN CARDINAL [Cardinal rouge] – a female visited her Shediac Rd. feeder yard on Thursday.  The Cardinal did not stay long, but knows where the buffet is.

** I had a new visitor to my Moncton feeder yard on Thursday with the arrival of a NORTHERN FLICKER [Pic flamboyant].  It appeared to be its first visit as it did some checking around before deciding on shelled peanuts.

** This week’s Sky-at-a-Glance is included in this edition, courtesy of sky-guru Curt Nason. 

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 1 – December 8
The constellation of Taurus the Bull has completely cleared the eastern horizon by 6:30 pm this week. It is distinguished by two relatively close star clusters: the compact dipper-shaped Pleiades in the bull’s shoulder and the V-shaped Hyades that forms the bull’s face. The bright orange star Aldebaran anchors one side of the V, representing the bull’s fiery eye, but it is not actually part of the cluster as it is much closer. Both clusters are a delightful view in binoculars. In a couple of weeks comet 46P/Wirtanen passes between them but a dark transparent sky might be needed to see it. In mythology the Pleiades (aka the Seven Sisters) and the Hyades were half-sisters; daughters of Atlas, who obviously didn’t spend all his time holding up the sky.

Starting from the apex of the Hyades, extend each side of the V outward to a star. These stars are the tips of the bull’s horns. The upper star is Alnath, which forms one of the corners of Auriga the Charioteer although it is officially part of Taurus. The other horn star has a famous dim neighbour, which is about one degree away and slightly to the right of a line joining the horns. Called the Crab Nebula or M1 for being the first entry in Charles Messier’s 18th century catalogue, this little fuzzy patch is a gaseous supernova remnant. The supernova, a death-explosion of a giant star, was seen in daylight for three weeks in 1054.  I have seen M1 in a transparent sky with binoculars but a scope gives a better view.

This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:40 am and sunset will occur at 4:35 pm, giving 8 hours, 55 minutes of daylight (7:43 am and 4:43 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:48 am and set at 4:33 pm, giving 8 hours, 45 minutes of daylight (7:50 am and 4:41 pm in Saint John).

The Moon makes a tight triangle with Venus and Spica on Monday morning and is at the new phase on Friday morning. Saturn is low in the southwest in twilight, heading toward conjunction on January 2. Mars remains in good observing position most of the evening and it passes very closely to Neptune on Thursday and Friday. Venus, the morning star, is at its brightest or greatest illuminated extent on December 1. As it pulls ahead of us in orbit its angular size decreases but we see more of its sunlit half. Jupiter and Mercury will be better placed for morning observers in a week or two.

The Saint John Astronomy Club meets in the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre on Saturday, December 1 at 7 pm. All are welcome.

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


Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton
 
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. (MALE) NOV 28 2018. STELLA LEBLANC

NORTHERN FLICKER. NOV 29, 2018. NELSON POIRIER

NORTHERN FLYING SQUIRREL, NOV. 2018, PHIL RIEBEL

NORTHERN SHRIKE (IMMATURE). NOV 27 2018. JP LEBLANC

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (FEMALE). NOV 28, 2018. JANE LeBLANC

Taurus_2018