Friday, 7 February 2020

Feb 7 2020

NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, February 7, 2020 (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)
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** Daryl Doucet was surprised by a sudden HOUSE FINCH [Roselin familier] invasion, numbering approximately 25, on Thursday.  The snow certainly made them find the booty quickly and they shared it just as quickly with their kin.  That’s a lot of House Finch to arrive to a feeder yard at one time.  Daryl also comments he came across several CROSSBILLS [Bec-croisé] feeding roadside in the Fundy National Park area as they often choose to do.  Auto collisions with them can be a problem, and Daryl unfortunately could not avoid one.

Jim Saunders recently serendipitously came across an egg mass of the Gypsy Moth to get some photos. This is an invasive we can expect to see more of in the future. Mathieu Carroll gives a nice commentary as attached below

Gypsy Moths have been extremely abundant in the Miramichi area for at least two summers. It has been easy to find large groups of caterpillars https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29344835 (not my photograph). They have a reputation of defoliating and eventually killing trees. Female moths do not seem to fly, so I tend to see them directly on top of the eggs they lay in late summer. For this reason, it is not unusual to find the last shed skin of the caterpillar, the exuvia and egg mass from the same moth all at close proximity. Jim captured this perfectly in his second photograph.


Excerpt from "Tracks & Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates; A Guide to North American Species" (page 21): "Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dyspar)  females are poor fliers and often deposit their overwintering mass of 100 to 600 eggs just a few centimeters from their pupal skin, generally on tree trunks or man-made structures. The roughly spherical eggs are completely covered with the female's buff-colored hairs. Egg masses of the browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea; now virtually extirpated from North America) are similar, but are deposited on the undersides of leaves and hatch in late summer." The author seems to suggest that the eggs are difficult to confound with those of another species.

Additional information:



Mathieu”


** Jane LeBlanc reports there has been very little activity in her St. Martins feeder yard since Sunday.  However, three BLUE JAYS [Geai bleu] promptly arrived with the snow storm to fill up on suet to provide a pleasant photo.

** Brian Stone visited Mapleton Park in the beautiful warm sunshine of Wednesday.  It would appear the temperatures may be making some tree sap flow as a RED SQUIRREL [Écureuil roux] was very actively lapping up sap as we often see in later season.  The duck troop of very predominantly MALLARD DUCKS[Canard colvert] is in the hundreds with a half dozen AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS [Canard noir] and some BLACK/MALLARD HYBRIDS among them.  Brian got an amusing photo of the ducks following him for a handout.  No comments on whether they got one or not!  Take a look at the action at the attached link.




** It’s Friday, and this week’s Sky-at-a-Glance is included in this edition courtesy of sky guru Curt Nason.  The next few nights may be a sky-viewing challenge, but it will all still be there, waiting for a clear night.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 February 8 – February 15
The most inconspicuous of the zodiac constellations is faint Cancer the Crab, which is nestled between Gemini and Leo. In mythology, the crab was sent by the goddess queen Hera to distract Hercules while he was battling the Hydra. The crab was no match for the strongman’s stomp. Ancient Egyptians saw it as their sacred dung beetle, the scarab.  In the first millennium BC the Sun was in Cancer at the summer solstice, the time when it halts its northward motion and slowly starts heading south. This back and forth motion of the rising and setting Sun on the horizon was perhaps reminiscent of a crab sidling on a beach. The summer Sun is now situated above the foot of Castor in Gemini.

Cancer is recognized by a trapezoid of dim naked eye stars as the crab’s body, with a couple of other stars representing the claws. The four stars were also seen as a manger flanked by a pair of donkeys, Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australus. On a clear dark night we can see a hazy patch of hay within the manger, and binoculars reveal it as a beautiful star cluster called the Beehive, Praesepe or M44. Being near the ecliptic, the planets often pass through or near this cluster, masquerading as a bright guest star. The Beehive was once used to forecast storms, for if it could not be seen it was hidden by light clouds at the front of a weather system. Binoculars can reveal another star cluster, number 67 on the Messier list of fuzzy non-comets, less than a fist-width south of M44.

This Week in the Solar System  
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:33 am and sunset will occur at 5:34 pm, giving 10 hours, 1 minute of daylight (7:36 am and 5:40 pm in Saint John).  Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:22 am and set at 5:44 pm, giving 10 hours, 22 minutes of daylight (7:26 am and 5:51 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is full on Sunday morning and at perigee on Monday, resulting in high tides early in the week. Mercury is at its greatest elongation from the Sun on Monday; sitting a hand span below and right of Venus, which sets two hours later at 9:20 pm. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are stretched along the ecliptic from south to east in the morning, with Mars zipping toward Jupiter and Jupiter edging toward Saturn. By April, Mars will have passed both. Starting Tuesday and for the next two weeks, the subtle glow of dust reflecting sunlight along the ecliptic can be seen in rural locations beginning an hour after sunset. The zodiacal light forms an angled wedge, and this year Venus is in the middle of it.

The annual INP Moonlight snowshoe hike and observing starts at 7 pm on February 8 at the Sheldon Point barn in Saint John. The William Brydone Jack Astronomy Club meets in the UNB Fredericton Forestry-Earth Sciences building on Tuesday at 7 pm, and RASC NB meets in the same location on February 15 at 1 pm. All are welcome.

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


nelsonpoirier435@gmail.com
Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton

GYPSY MOTH EGG MASS. FEB 2020.  JIM SAUNDERS

GYPSY MOTH EGG MASS. FEB 2020.  JIM SAUNDERS

HOUSE FINCH (WITH A LONE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH). FEB 6, 2020. DARYL DOUCET

HOUSE FINCH. FEB 6, 2020. DARYL DOUCET

HOUSE FINCH . FEB 6, 2020. DARYL DOUCET

BLUE JAY. FEB. 6, 2020. JANE LEBLANC

RED SQUIRREL. FEB. 05, 2020.. BRIAN STONE

RED SQUIRREL. FEB. 05, 2020.. BRIAN STONE

MALLARD DUCKS. FEB. 05, 2020. BRIAN STONE

MALLARD BLACK DUCK HYBRID. FEB. 05, 2020. BRIAN STONE

MALLARD X BLACK DUCK HYBRID WITH PURE MALLARD DUCKS. FEB. 05, 2020.. BRIAN STONE

Cancer 2018 Dec