Peter Nye who is a Biologist and head of the Endangered Species Unit for the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) talked on NPR yesterday regarding his restoration and conservation efforts of the Bald Eagles here in New York State. You can listen to the story | HERE ON NPR|. This was done after yesterday’s announcement from the Interior Department that they are removing the American Bald Eagle from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Personally, I think it is still a little early for the federal government to remove them from this list but I guess this is a good thing that happened! (more…)
click on the maps to see them enlarge or see the animation.
I was reviewing the Weather Underground website to see what this weekend’s weather was looking like. I then noticed that the NEXRAD images for Western New York showed a large movement of birds moving through the area. Watch the font map (below-right) at the point at 9:30 when bazillion of birds suddenly appear on the map (green)! Now that you know Tom’s Forcast, wake up early (before going to work) and spend some time Birding! If you are not sure how to read these maps, please visit my post “how to observe migration at night” and I hope that this post will answer any question you might have regarding Radar Ornithology.
Normally I am not fond of rain showers but those Geminid meteor showers last night were spectacular. I would like to thank Driftless Skies for alerting me to the Northern Lights and Geminid’s occurring right now. Last night’s watch was very enjoyable due to the warm temperatures and crystal clear skies. I did not encounter any aurora but I think the possibilities tonight will be much better.
Most every night I have been finding myself staying up late because I am unable to break my bad habits from two months of owl banding. But, how could I have missed this meteor shower last night?? When “going” and “returning” home from work in the dark every day, one must find nature activities any chance I get!
I quickly got my butt outside after watching the David Letterman show with his “science kid” guests. It took a few minutes before my eyes could adjust to the darkness but slowly some stars started to appear. I started to wonder “where are these meteors”?? Then you think you see something out of the corner of your eye! Was it – yep it was! Again, Again and Again they fly across the sky with ewww’s and awww’s!!. One or two appeared to have a small tails following as it enters earth’s atmosphere and boy – were they bright. I caught one greenish meteor in the lower southern sky that had to be my favorite for the night. They happen so quickly, you wonder, what color was that one?? Last nights showers were not the best shower ever but was still one of the better ones with meteor’s seen about once every +/- 20 to 30 seconds!!
I started to realizing how much I miss the night time sounds and wildlife. Due to the lake being frozen, I didn’t hear any more Geese honking and Eastern Screech Owls appeared to be very quite. Everything appeared to be so peaceful until those Coyotes started howling. The Coyotes are very commonly heard around the house and I love how once one dog starts howling, many others from across the valley join the song. You can almost distinguish different individual’s howls once you take the time to listen! It almost makes you want to join the pack and howl along!! FYI: I didn’t start howling but really wanted to!! My neighbors already think I am nuts!
After spending more time outside than I should have, I finally made it to bed. Ever close your eyes and reflect everything you just did? Well, couldn’t sleep because those howls stayed in my head and I kept on visualizing those shooting stars streaking across the sky!! Only difference was that I wasn’t getting any warbler neck trying to look up at the stars for a half-hour straight. But, those are the moments that you remember forever.
I only hope weather allows me to give tonight another try with the possibilities of the Northern Lights appearing. I hope you get out as well and enjoy the natural light show instead of watching your television. Ok, its Thursday night and maybe I will do both!
I find myself turning off my headlamp after checking the nets for owls!! There is nothing like walking through the woods in the absolute darkness. It’s only you and the sparkling stars which are leading you back to the banding station. Yes, I slip in the mud, crunch in the frozen leaves and even trip over twigs, but there is no way I would have wanted to miss that green shooting star streaking across the sky. Looking up, I see my favorite star cluster which takes me back to the main part of the road. Hmmm ….. Oooo ….. wait…… what is that cluster called??? Ugg, I can never remember those star names!!
When you find yourself in total darkness, your other senses take control. What are those squeaking sounds?? Isn’t this where I always see that Peromyscus mouse looking for food in the mud?? What’s that smell?? Are those Geese down on the lake?? No wait, that’s a pack of coyotes vocalizing?? Quickly, headlamp comes on; flash light come out from the pocket; I start walking quicker.
This is the coldest it has been since early November when we were hit with the lake effect snow. Even with the sun out today, the temperatures never got above 37 degrees F. I seriously considered taking the day off of work to get out enjoying the sun. But, I continued the numerous projects that I was working on and dreamed about the possibilities of catching a fluff ball tonight.
The past two nights had perfect North West winds which resulted in no birds. Now tonight we had light South West winds and resulted in catching three Northern Saw-whet Owls. One of which was a foreign recaptured bird (originally banded by someone else) from Ontario Canada in 2005. Isn’t it amazing that I can report a band number to the Bird Banding Lab and within seconds have its life history? Then again, isn’t it amazing your all reading my blog and finding out what I have been up to??
BTW: I remember now, Cassiopeia is the star cluster which I love! Why can’t I remember this Queens name?? You think I would remember!!