NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, October 16, 2020 (Friday)
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Edited by: Nelson Poirier firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcript by: Louise Nichols email@example.com
Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
** On Nature Moncton Infoline published on Wednesday, Louise Nichols reported the presence of HUDSONIAN GODWITS (Barge hudsonienne) at the Tantramar Wetlands (Sackville). Yves Poussart visited this site on Thursday morning looking for them and he did find a group of twenty of them.
His expectation was high because this is a new species to him, and he was able to take several photos. After having visited other sites, Yves returned to the site during the afternoon to benefit from a better orientation of light, but it was then not possible to find them. At the Waterfowl Park, AMERICAN WIGEONS (Canard d'Amérique) are by far the most abundant species.
** It sure has been awhile since there has been multiple reports of PINE SISKINS [Tarin des pins] in yards and feeders. In many cases over the past few years, this species was in flocks in the wild, but in many instances, not coming to feeders. I am assuming that their wild food supply was abundant and that they chose that over feeders. One would wonder if their favourite food source of birch catkins is diminished in some cases this year. Daryl Doucet got a nice photo of a group in his Moncton feeder yard. Daryl also got a nice photo of an adult WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW [Bruant à couronne blanche]. We have had several photos of immature White-crowned Sparrows submitted, but this is the first one in adult plumage. It is a short time window that we have to see this species in the fall as they migrate to the south of us, and in the spring as they migrate to breeding grounds to the north of us.
** Brian and Annette Stone drove to Fundy National Park on Thursday to enjoy what might be one of the last nice days of the year (but hopefully not). They took the scenic route through Harvey and Waterside to get there and enjoyed the bright coloured foliage still on display along the way. At Fundy Park they decided to walk the Caribou Plain Trail (a 2.1 km loop) and examine all the beauty that it had to offer, and it had a lot to offer. All the public areas of the park, both inside and outside and trails, are "mask required" at the moment and loop trails are "one way" only. They actually had the trail all to themselves on Thursday, as well as the picnic area at Bennett Lake where they had their lunch. It really felt wild being out there all alone.
Along the trail boardwalk areas they saw dozens of AUTUMN MEADOWHAWK DRAGONFLIES, many mushrooms and other fungi, a dozen or more small fish in a stream running out of the lake, some colourful foliage still hanging on to their trees, an old looking beaver lodge out in the Caribou Lake itself, a nice group of PITCHER PLANTS, a RED SQUIRREL surveying his local habitat, a nice flyover by a RED-TAILED HAWK, and on the bark of a birch tree Brian noticed a tiny, 5 mm long spider that was identified as a NORTHERN LONG-TOOTHED SHEETWEAVER SPIDER. Brian also made a 6-image panorama of Annette posing at the Caribou Lake lookout platform. On the way out of the park they spotted a healthy-looking RED FOX wandering along the roadside.
** It’s Friday and time to review the next week’s Sky-at-a-Glace, courtesy of sky-guru Curt Nason, as days get shorter and some dark nights coming up with a new moon which we will not see during the day and which means we can expect high high tides and low low tides.
Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 October 17 – October 24
With the Square of Pegasus appearing higher in the east after twilight, look under it (or outside the first base line of the diamond) for a circle of fainter stars. This asterism is the Circlet of Pisces and forms the head of one if the two fish that make up this zodiac constellation. Below left of the circle is the Vernal Equinox, the point where the Sun crosses the equator to mark the beginning of our spring season. It is still at times called the First Point of Aries despite having moved well to the west of the zodiacal ram.
The fishes represent Aphrodite and her son Eros, who tied their ankles together with a cord before leaping into the sea and changing into fish to escape the fearsome monster Typhon. The star where the fishes’ tails meet is called Alrescha, which means “the cord.” This autumn Pisces is hosting a prominent visitor: the planet Mars.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:39 am and sunset will occur at 6:28 pm, giving 10 hours, 49 minutes of daylight (7:43 am and 6:34 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:49 am and set at 6:16 pm, giving 10 hours, 27 minutes of daylight (7:52 am and 6:23 pm in Saint John).
With the new Moon at perigee on October 16, we can expect extreme tides this weekend. The Moon passes below Jupiter and Saturn on Thursday, and at the first quarter phase on Friday a telescope will reveal the Lunar X just inside the shadow line around 8 pm. Mars is now in the eastern sky at sunset, attracting attention throughout the night. Jupiter continues to edge toward Saturn, and this Saturday telescope users might catch the shadows of Jupiter’s moons Callisto and Io on the planet’s cloud tops until 8:42 pm. Venus dominates the morning sky and rural stargazers might see it within the zodiacal light 90 minutes before sunrise. The Orionid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday night, best seen Wednesday morning when Orion is highest.
With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm, and view archived shows, on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAEHfOWyL-kNH7dBVHK8spg
Questions? Contact Curt Nason at firstname.lastname@example.org.