Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Skies at Night

The skies at night certainly are big and bright on the radar screen, and not just in Texas. Last night's radar, Friday, September 04, was simply hopping here in NY.

Above is the radar from about 10:00 PM (EDT), which shows some intense dark blue across the north side of Lake Ontario and into the Adirondack mountains. The western sides of Massachusetts and Connecticut are also showing some serious airborne activity.

The time I spent outside, intermittent periods between 9:00 PM and midnight, were not throbbing with avian sound as I hoped. A few calls here and there, mostly warblers and sparrows but a couple of Swainson's Thrush mixed in, and they fought to be heard through the din of insects and my neighbor's affection for .38 Special.

Moon watching, on the other hand, was spectacular, at least in my limited experience. All told it averaged about a bird per minute, all small, all transiting the moon to the south. At least two bats danced independently in seemingly random directions. It's not like they were waltzing with one another, they'd appear from below, slow and graceful, and seem to hover. A few beats of the wings would take them higher, into the Sea of Tranquility, past the Sea of Crisis, and out past the edge of the moon. Or towards the crater Copernicus, through the Ocean of Storms and back into invisibility. By now you may be guessing I dug out my college astronomy text. Busted - you're right.

Near Full Moon
The cold front that prompted these birds to take flight will hopefully open another door of migration tonight. I'll be out again, listening and watching.

What are you seeing/hearing in your neck of the woods?



Rouchswalwe said...

Quite a few gulls moving through and the Canada Geese are on the move in small groups. The Goldfinches are still visiting the feeder. Saw a lone Blue Heron flying southwest the other day.

Hilke Breder said...

Interesting - I have to go out tonight and see what comes my way. In the past I had thought of doing it but never put it in action. There seems to be little activity across Southern Vermont, but that probably changes from night to night.

A.J. said...

Just reading this post. Mostly, I want to comment on your Moon photo--VERY nice! I was wondering how you knew so much about the geography of the moon. LOL! Have not been looking outside at night for birds; during the day, have seen several hawks lately in the neighborhood in northern VA. We don't have our feeders supplied anymore, but saw goldfinches in the vegetation in the backyard.

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