Monday, March 30, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker in the Yard

Male Pileated

       Even before we closed on our new house I noticed the rectangular holes excavated into one of the yard's pines.  Its a sure sign of Pileated Woodpeckers.

    After living in the house for three weeks the Pileateds finally showed up.   
Female Pileated

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Red-Shouldered Hawk

   The new yard list is up to 14.  So far I've had 2 birds (Red-shouldered Hawk and Tufted Titmouse) that I only saw one time each at my old yard and another (Common Raven) that never appeared (nor was expected) at my Wayne County house.

    With my move Goldfinches have replaced House Sparrows as the nuisance bird.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Northern Lights 3/17/2015 (with video)

    For the first time in about ten years I was able to observe and photograph a display of the Northern Lights.  A Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun on March 15 sent a shower of charged particles that interacted with Earth's magnetic field.  The ejected matter actually arrived early in the predawn (EDT) hours of March 17.   During the daylight hours for the eastern US the intensity of the interaction increased dramatically,  giving skywatchers in the eastern hemisphere a vivid display.
    Just before the onset of dusk for my location there was a slight drop off in the Auroral activity.  Usually this signifies a trend downward and the end of the geomagnetic storm.  But as the sky started to darken a quick check of  showed that the fall off was just temporary and the activity re-intensified.

  Before astronomical twilight had begun the display was detected by my camera, as I set up on the roadside leading to Ludington State Park.
Green glow visible in twilight
   Who knew that a road that leads nowhere but the park, would suddenly become the busiest road in Mason County.
Long exposure of passing car
  To avoid headlights washing out my photos I climbed over the dunes and reset-up the camera
   It wasn't the best display I've ever seen but I had my best camera I'd ever photographed the aurora with.
  I strung together about 200 still photos and made a video that I put on youtube.  Here is the link.
Video of Northern Lights