May 26, 2023
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Edited by Nelson Poirier email@example.com
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**Yvette Richard went birding east of Ottawa last week to see
lots of similar birds to the ones in N.B., but many different.
On the way up going through La Pocatière in Quebec, she was hoping to see Snow Geese left over from the migration. She was very happy to see them close to the highway.
It was very windy, and they moved a lot. Very funny when she realized they were decoys.
(Editor’s note: how many times have we all gone down that rabbit hole!)
But she did see a flock on the way back to N.B. that were live.
On a trail in Mud Lake, just west of Ottawa, she encountered a monstrous Wild Turkey standing like a sentry. He was a good 4 feet tall, at least. Very intimidating. After a few photos, Yvette hightailed it in the other direction.
Yvette also saw the very colourful male Baltimore Oriole and a male Northern Cardinal at Shirley's Bay, on the west side of Ottawa.
A very vocal House Wren sang the whole time it was being observed.
(Editor’s note: the House Wren may be common in Ontario but is a rare visitor to New Brunswick. When a male occasionally does pay a visit, it is very vocal in attempting to attract a mate, which would be a challenge in New Brunswick!)
**Aldo Dorio photographed a Painted Trillium in prime bloom at Hay Island on Thursday.
He also photographed a flock of Black Scoter off Hay Island which must be in the caboose as the vast majority of Black Scoter would have migrated through New Brunswick by this time.
A Common Tern also made a flypass.
**Brian Stone photographed a millipede recently, and we quizzed Alyre Chiasson as to the difference between millipedes and centipedes. Alyre responded, “two pairs of legs per body segment, hence a millipede. They are also detritivores (forage on detritus), so they don't bite. Perhaps, not the best way to test :)"
Another reliable comment:
Millipedes have two sets of legs per segment positioned directly under their body. Centipedes have one set of legs per segment positioned on the side of their body. Centipedes mostly eat insects after killing them with their venom. Millipedes feast on decomposing plants.
**Brian Stone went to the Government Rd. wetlands at Salisbury on Thursday morning to see if the earlier reported Willow Flycatcher was still present and was rewarded with a bit of luck as the bird was there and vocalizing loudly to confirm its identity. The light was dim as heavy clouds were above and rain was threatening, but some post-processing helped brighten the photos enough to show the bird.
A little processing also helped with the other photos taken there, including American Coot, Yellow Warbler, male and female Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue-winged Teals, many Wood Ducks, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows, and a male Common Yellowthroat.
On the same day, Brian made a quick visit to the west end of Wilson Marsh on Salisbury Rd. towards Moncton to find Canada Geese with many Goslings, Swamp Sparrows, and a Virginia Rail.
**Nelson Poirier maintains a trail camera aimed at fish offal placed on a backwoods trail in Miramichi. There has been a variety of wildlife recorded as they pay visits to the booty.
The number of Turkey vultures visiting has risen to at least 16, and getting surprisingly possessive putting the run to ravens and crows and not impressed when a Bald Eagle makes a drop in. Nelson is convinced the vultures recognize the grey F-150 truck when it arrives to augment the menu. At first, they would fly in circles on arrival; however, now, they land in trees around the site as if to say, “hurry things up”!
The only tampering done to the camera was by a Black Bear. A photo shows it looking at the camera with the next frame of the bear in the tree, giving it a swat to end the photo session!
Bears are known to do this to trail cameras. Nelson wonders if they see the camera as eyes and decide to take care of the intruder.
Other guests have included Coyote, Raccoon, and Red Fox.
**Friday has arrived, and it’s time to review what next week’s night sky may have in store for us to check out courtesy of sky guru Curt Nason
Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023, May 27 – June 3
With turkey vultures becoming more prominent in the province, you might be interested in knowing a vulture once flew with the swan and the eagle in the sky. The bright star Vega can be seen high in the east in the late evening. Vega’s constellation is Lyra the Lyre or Harp, with the main part of the instrument being formed by a parallelogram of stars. If you point a telescope between the two brighter stars of the parallelogram, opposite Vega, you might notice a fat, blurry star. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a smoke ring or doughnut. This is the Ring Nebula or M57, the remnants of a Sun-sized star that puffed off its layers of gas when it ran out of nuclear fuel. Near Vega is a dimmer but naked-eye star that binoculars will show as two stars and a telescope at high power will reveal each of those as double stars. This star, Epsilon Lyrae (E1 in the picture), is nicknamed the Double-Double, so with a coffee and a doughnut, I regard Lyra as the Tim Hortons constellation.
In mythology, the lyre was made from a tortoise shell by the god Hermes, who gave it to Apollo. It was mastered by Apollo’s son Orpheus, who soothed all around him when he played. After his bride was killed tragically on their wedding night, he spurned the advances of the many young ladies vying for his attention. They schemed revenge, screaming loudly so as not to be affected by his music, and then beat him to death and tossed the lyre into the river. In one version of mythology, Zeus sent a vulture to retrieve the lyre and had it placed in the sky to commemorate Orpheus and his music. Star maps from a few centuries ago depicted the lyre in the talons of the vulture.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:35 am, and sunset will occur at 8:58 pm, giving 15 hours, and 23 minutes of daylight (5:43 am and 9:00 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday, the Sun will rise at 5:30 am and set at 9:04 pm, giving 15 hours, and 34 minutes of daylight (5:38 am and 9:06 pm in Saint John).
The Moon is at first quarter this Saturday, making a great weekend for lunar observing. Mars is the center of attention this week, appearing as a garnet gem among the stars of the Beehive Cluster, M44, on Thursday and Friday. The evenings before and after it will be just on the outskirts of the cluster. Venus continues to approach Mars, and in less than two weeks, it will be passing near the Beehive. Saturn is well placed in the southeast for observation in the morning twilight. Jupiter is too low in the east for good viewing, but its brightness will draw some attention. Mercury is at its greatest elongation from the Sun on Monday but too dim to be seen easily with binoculars. It will be brightening over the next two weeks, however.
On Sunday evening at 8 pm, tune in to the Sunday Night Astronomy Show via the Facebook page or YouTube channel of Astronomy by the Bay.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason at email@example.com.