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Moon News

January 23, 2023
by

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

At our Malibu Lagoon field trip yesterday, Paula jumped into the introductory announcements with some news of her own: the new moon was currently at its closest to the earth in 990 years. This was news to me, so I checked a few sources. Here’s the lowdown.

A few fundamentals:

The moon’s orbit around the earth is an oval; so is the earth’s orbit around the sun.
The moon’s closest point to the earth is the perigee, farthest is the apogee.
The earth’s closest point to the sun is the perihelion, farthest is the aphelion.

The moon’s perigee can occur at any point in its phase cycle, so it rarely occurs when the moon is either full or new.

The earth’s perihelion slowly shifts 1 day every 58 years. It’s currently Jan 4/5. King tides fall at new moon closest to the perihelion, so our king tide season will slowly shift forward. In 6340, perihelion will fall on the March equinox (currently approximately Mar 21).

A full moon at or near perigee is a supermoon.
When the moon’s perigee occurs close to or at the earth’s perihelion, the annual perihelion-caused King Tides are very high.

Here’s some articles on the recent “super-new-moon,” followed by some tidal info.

The new moon is the closest in nearly 1,000 years tonight
Space.com | Stephanie Waldek | 21 Jan 2023
It’s the closest new moon to Earth since the year 1030. At 3:54 p.m. EST (2054 GMT), the moon will be exactly 221,561 miles (356,568 km) away from our planet, according to Timeanddate.com (opens in new tab), which sifted through data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to determine the distances of every Earth-moon distance for hundreds of years. 

On Saturday … Closest new moon in 1,337 years
EarthSky | Graham Jones | 19 Jan 2023

Why The Moon Is Suddenly Closer To Earth Than For 992 Years—And What It Means
Forbes | Jamie Carter 18 Jan 2023
On Saturday, January 21, 2023, the New Moon will be precisely 221,561 miles/356,568 km from Earth. As reported by Timeanddate.com, that’s the closest it will come to our planet since the year 1030—a time of the Crusades, the Norman Conquest of Britain and early Vikings settlements in North America, a century ironically sometimes called the “Dark Ages.” This “ultimate supermoon” also signals the beginning of Chinese Lunar New Year and comes during a rare conjunction between Venus and Saturn that will be best viewed just after sunset in the southwest on Sunday, January 22, 2022.

Why is the Moon suddenly so close?


Tide table below for period: 30 Dec 2022 to 28 Jan 2023
Full Moon: 6 Jan 2023 6:09 PM High tide: 5.78 feet on both 5 Jan 7:38am, 6 Jan 8:11am
New Moon: 21 Jan 2023 12:53 PM High tide: 6.84 feet 21 Jan 8:11am
The new moon high tide was 16 days farther from perihelion than was full moon high tide, yet was more than a foot higher. Thus perigee + new moon outweighed perihelion + full moon.

Malibu Lagoon trip is a go: Sunday, 22 Jan. 2023

January 20, 2023

Link to prior announcement here: /2023/01/11/malibu-lagoon-monthly-field-trip-sunday-22-january-2023/.

We still have a few spaces open. Send your reservation to Chuck: click here [not to the blog, please.]

…and thanks to all the little people for voting me your leader! (Ray Juncosa 01-23-22)

Suggestions:

  • Bring your mask. You may want to wear it at least during the first 30-45 minutes when the group is more compact and crowded.
  • If you feel sick, stay home and isolate.
  • If you have been around anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, please be considerate of others, and stay home.
  • Latest Covid data (weekly) LA county per week: (Who knows? The linked site is almost useless. Got a better one?)

National Weather Service predicts: Sunny, 82% clear, 47° to 58°, northeast wind 8 mph.
High tide of 6.81 ft. is at 8:58 am! Trailing edge of the King Tide. Low tide -1.83 ft. at 4:18 pm.
As a group we will saunter, not race, to the beach as it will be inundated at high tide. Best to wait a while for it to drop. I heard on the news yesterday that due to unpredicted factors (winds, storms, your uncle’s trick knee) the high could easily be over 7 ft.

To reiterate a few rules:

  • If I checked your Covid card last month, I won’t check it again.
  • For all others, bring your covid vax card. Yes, I have a list.
  • Trip has a few openings. Send me an email if you want to be on it.
  • Email to Chuck: misclists@verizon.net. [PLEASE – not to the blog]
  • Masks are not required but are appreciated.
  • Temperature likely to be in mid-to-high 60’s.
  • It will be, as one birder succinctly commented in 1452: “A courerete of cootys!” 
Belted Kingfisher at Malibu Lagoon (L. Loeher 01-10-19)
Do you think this a male or female?

The prior rules, still in force

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
  • Bring your Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and a photo ID card. They will be checked. If you do not have two shots and a booster (preferably three boosters) recorded on your card, you must wear a mask while you are with the group.
  • If we checked your Covid card last month, we won’t check it this month.
  • Bring your own binoculars.
  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed. Participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated (2 shots + booster) for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • The 10am Children & Parents Walk is NOT reinstated. Not yet, anyway.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists@verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page:

Snowy Owl Program Thurs. 19 Jan 7 PM | Sea & Sage Audubon

January 18, 2023
by

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

As most local birders now know, a Snowy Owl showed up a few weeks ago in Cypress in northwest Orange County. It sat on the rooftops of various houses, and every so often would disappear, probably to go catch ground squirrels on one of the local military bases, although we don’t know that for sure. When the big storms arrived the other day and buckets poured down, the bird disappeared. It may have moved farther south in Orange County, or perhaps even perched in a tree (not many of those on the tundra).

Sea & Sage Audubon is doing a Zoom presentation on Snowy Owls (in general, not this particular Snowy Owl), presented by Denver Holt, inspired by the extremely uncommon appearance of the species this far south.

When: Tomorrow, Thursday, 19 January 2003, 7 PM Pacific Standard Time

Link to Webinar: https://wildlife-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/87304541902
If that doesn’t work:
Sea & Sage Zoom Page: https://wp.seaandsageaudubon.org/home-sas/whats-new/#header
On this page scroll down a little bit and click on the “Join Webinar” button.
I hope that works, because that’s all I know about it.


Here’s the bird itself, photographed by Lynzie Flynn a few weeks ago. For those who have seen this bird afar across the tundra, a tiny dot in a telescope, seeing it 25 yards away is a real treat. Those “mustache” feathers on both sides of the bill are stranger to see than you might think. [More below.]

Snowy Owl in Cypress, Orange County, December 2022.
Photo by Lynzie Flynn

There are evil rumors afoot that this bird is related to the mysterious Western Roof Owl, but I’m certain that’s not true. I saw it myself and it has nothing in common with that bird, save for the roof-perching. And you could watch it breathe. Try doing that with the Western Roof Owl.


I just picked this comment off the <OrangeCountyBirding@groups.io> bird alert.

From: “Ryan Winkleman” <rswinkleman[AT]gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2023 16:20:50 -0800
Subject: Re: [OrangeCountyBirding] Snowy Owl

While it’s probably unlikely that the bird will be refound unless it happens to show up back in the same place or in one of the major OC birding locations, I also want to recognize that some people may not want the manic attention should it show up in a residential area again. As of last night there were 1,011 eBird reports of this one single bird over the last three weeks, and my understanding is that at least on some days police had to be present for safety purposes with the crowds. What I do want to say, though, is that should the bird randomly show up alive somewhere else in Orange County on private or restricted property or in an area where mobs would otherwise be unwelcome, I would urge the finder(s) to please still notify me for our county records as well as Tom Benson for the CBRC records (secretary@californiabirds.org).

Thanks!

Camera Traps Are Like Candid Camera for Your Backyard Birds | The Living Bird

January 12, 2023

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Those of you who — unlike me — have something better than a box camera or a Kodak Kwiki-Shoot should find this inspiring. Something to do before we’re all washed away.

Camera Traps are Like Candid Camera for your Backyard Birds
The Living Bird | Carla Rhodes | 22 Dec 2022
It’s a fun new avenue for bird photography: using a “camera trap” to shoot images whenever a bird appears in your backyard—like an avian selfie photo booth.

Carla Rhodes, from the article: “Juncos, hands down to me, were the most entertaining. It was almost like they were trolling me, teasing me, and showing personality and different perspectives.”
Quick! Which subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco is this?

Text from the article:

If you purchased your digital camera within the last 10 years, chances are you already have some basic tools for remote photography. The simplest options include setting your camera on time-lapse or using an interval timer, then setting your camera out at your feeder and hoping the birds are there when the timer goes off.  

Many modern cameras can also be fired via handheld wireless remote control, or operated remotely with a smartphone app. Canon’s Camera Con­nect and the Nikon WirelessMobileUti­lity apps enable simple remote-control, timer-controlled, and time-lapse series shooting on a connected camera.  

If you want to take the next step, you can build (or buy) a proper camera-trap system. A bare minimum camera-trap setup includes a camera with a port for connecting remote shutter-release equipment, a wide-angle lens that allows a broader field of view in the surrounding environment, and a pas­sive infrared (or PIR) sensor that will trigger the camera’s shutter when it detects the body heat from an animal’s presence. There are several off-the-shelf camera-trap systems available; two of the most popular are made by Cognisys and Camtraptions.

Carla Rhodes, from the article.
This is a mouse I could live with.

Malibu Lagoon Monthly Field Trip: Sunday, 22 January 2023

January 11, 2023

…and thanks to all the little people for voting me your leader!
(Ray Juncosa 01-23-22)

It’s ALWAYS the 4th (not the last!) Sunday of the month.

Covid-19 Rules for Malibu Lagoon trip are
unchanged from last month.
People are still dropping like flies and additional viruses abound.

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
  • Register to Chuck: misclists[AT]verizon.net, not to this email or to the blog, please.
  • Masks are not required but will be appreciated.
  • Bring your Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and a photo ID card. They will be checked. If you do not have two shots and a booster recorded on your card, you must wear a mask while you are with the group.
  • If we checked your Covid card In March-September, we won’t check it this month.
  • Bring your own binoculars; telescope too if you have one.
  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed. Participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated (2 shots + booster) for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • The 10am Children & Parents Walk is NOT yet reinstated.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists[AT]verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page
Cormorants and pelicans on offshore rock (R. Juncosa 01-23-22)

The depth of winter and loads of birds. It’s frightening how many there are. I don’t even want to think about it! 60 to 75 species likely. A quiet beach on a cool, quiet day. Dress in layers for cool weather, wind or fog.

Some of the great birds we’ve had in January are:
American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated, Pacific & Common Loons, Horned, Eared & Western Grebes, Brandt’s & Pelagic Cormorants, Osprey, Red-shouldered & Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Plover, Black Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Spotted Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Heermann’s, Herring & Glaucous-winged Gulls, Royal & Forster’s Terns, Black Skimmer, Anna’s & Allen’s Hummingbirds, Belted Kingfisher, Black & Say’s Phoebes, Bewick’s & House Wrens, Common Yellowthroat, Spotted Towhee, Song & Lincoln’s Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser & American Goldfinches. A googolplex of birds! Perhaps two googolplexes of birds!

If you arrive early you may perchance to espy a trewloue of turtuldowẏs.

Have you donated to SMBAS Yet? (Clipartkid.com)

Adult Walk 8:30 a.m., 4th Sunday of every month.  Beginner and experienced, 2-3 hours.  Species range from 35 in June to 60-75 during migrations and winter.  We move slowly and check everything as we move along.  When lagoon outlet is closed we may continue east around the lagoon to Adamson House.  We put out special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginning birdwatchers.  So please, if you are at all worried about coming on a trip and embarrassing yourself because of all the experts, we remember our first trips too.  Someone showed us the birds; now it’s our turn. Bring your birding questions.

Children and Parents Walk: Still canceled due to Covid-19 pandemic, immunization and masking problems, especially with young children. Maybe in January.

Belted Kingfisher at Malibu Lagoon (L. Loeher 01-10-19)

Map to Meeting Place
Directions: Malibu Lagoon is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road, west of Malibu Pier and the bridge.  Look around for people wearing binoculars.
Parking: Parking machine installed in the lagoon lot: 1 hr $3; 2 hrs $6; 3 hrs $9, all day $12 ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read signs carefully) on either of PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center Way north (inland) of the shopping center.  Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted (i.e. they tow cars).

American Oystercatcher (G. Murayama 1-20-20 Malibu Lagoon)

Prior checklists:
2021: Jan-July
July-Dec 2022: Jan-June, July-Dec
2020: Jan-JulyJuly-Dec  2019: Jan-June, July-Dec  
2018: Jan-June, July-Dec  2017: Jan-June, July-Dec
2016: Jan-June, July-Dec  2015: Jan-May, July-Dec
2014: Jan-July,  July-Dec  2013: Jan-June, July-Dec
2012: Jan-June, July-Dec 2011: Jan-June, July-Dec
2010: Jan-June, July-Dec  2009: Jan-June, July-Dec

[Written & posted by Chuck Almdale]

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