In the last few weeks I have noticed a very bright object in the western sky just after sunset. I don't know much about astronomy but I know enough to realize that I am seeing a planet. Turns out that it is the planet Venus.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail . . . (famous children's song)
Just about every young child around here learns that song in preschool. But are all gray squirrels really gray? I have noticed some color variations in the past few years, and that got me wondering.
When I backed out of my driveway on Saturday morning, I noticed a dead possum right at the road. After a couple of minutes of "EW!" I resolved to get out there with a shovel and get rid of it. However, it rained on and off on Saturday afternoon and evening.
But by Sunday afternoon, nature's top cleaners had found the possum, and two hours later most of the creature was gone, thanks to a turkey vulture.
Back in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that 2013 would be an active hurricane season in the Atlantic. That prediction has not held. There have been eight named storms as of September 9, with Tropical Storm Humberto closer to Africa than the eastern US. Hurricane season officially ends November 1, and no one in the New York metropolitan area can forget Sandy, which occurred in the end of October last year. But weather watchers and climate change scientists are asking the same question, "Where are the storms?"
Hurricane Sandy, from space.
The signs of Autumn are subtle but here. Little patches of red and yellow started appearing in the tops of trees in mid-August. Now I am noticing that I can see further into the woods when I look for what my dog is barking at—leaves are falling off the underbrush. Last week I noticed leaves falling off trees. Acorns are hitting my roof.
I spent this past weekend at a beach community on Long Island, not too far out from New York City. These beaches are still recovering from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. In this area, beaches are divided jetties of large rocks, which act to trap the ever-moving sand and stabilize the barrier islands. The section of beach we were on was very narrow, but still lovely: white sand, waves.
But at the next section to the west, this summer has been tough for a different reason. There has been a tremendous overgrowth of green leafy seaweed. As you can see, the beach appears to be covered with spinach!
This is what one section of the beach looked like on Sunday morning.
Have you ever seen something in nature that was a surprise to you?
Sometimes you get a chance to see something that you never thought of, something that it never even occurred to you that you would see, in a place you have been many times before. Yesterday was one of those days. We went to a beach where I have gone many, many times and saw a pod of dolphins swimming offshore.
Sometimes, the lesson about the importance of measurement is learned the hard way. Just ask some moving men in Danbury, CT. They didn't pay attention to the clearly posted signs warning drivers that trucks must be lower than 10 ft 7 in. The result: the top of their truck was sheared off, spilling the contents of the truck into the road. Here's the article in the local newspaper.
Rabbits show up all the time in popular culture. There is Peter Rabbit, the Easter Bunny, the Velveteen Rabbit, and of course Bugs Bunny, just to name a few. Rabbits are cute and cuddly-looking, with soft fur and large eyes.
It is rabbit season in my region—for some reason the rabbit population is booming, and we are seeing them everywhere. It seems to me that there are more rabbits this year. Is the rabbit population on the rise or am I just seeing more of them?
The Eastern Cottontail, with a white spot on its head, is the most commonly seen rabbit in my area.
Did you see the Moon last night? Did you notice how large it looked? That is because it is a Supermoon. So, what is a Supermoon?
Compare the size of a regular full Moon with a Supermoon.