I've been hearing reports about it on the news, and soon I will be hearing the hum live: the cicadas are coming! Specifically, Magicicada brood II, the 17-year brood, which is emerging or about to emerge along the East Coast of the US.
The University of Connecticut is tracking their emergence, and a Cicada Tracker Web page is helping them out. If you live in range of this brood, you can help track the cicadas. UPDATE I heard my first cicada this year, at about noon on May 20th.
The Magicicada is very striking to look at, with red eyes and glossy wings.
The New York Times from last Saturday (May 11) had an important article about global warming. The Earth has passed an average daily level of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. CO2 is the gas that does the most damage as far as global warming is concerned, because it traps the heat in the Earth's atmosphere.
This is very bad news for our planet, most immediately for people who live on the coastlines, which will be more prone to flooding.
The time is now to make personal changes and to make larger changes.
I know it isn't a dandelion. But what is it?
I was in my office the other day and when I looked up from the computer something caugh my eye in the window. I wish I could say it was a deer or a fox but no, it was not. It was a STINK BUG! Ugh.
It has been a very cold Spring in the northeastern US. A year ago we were enjoying the early warmth and worrying about how hot the Summer might get. How times have changed!
The bright light of the full Moon shining in my bedroom window woke me at 5 am this morning. My bedroom windows face west and with no visible neighbors I never pull the shades, so a few times a year when the Moon hits just the exact right location I get woken up by moonlight. As I tried to fall back to sleep I was reminded of a more famous alignment between astronomy and human-built structures. Stonehenge? Nah, too mysterious. I am talking about "Manhattanhenge," the time of the year when the setting Sun aligns with the east-west streets of New York City's central borough. Does this happen in your city?
The Sun sets directly down New York's famous 42nd Street. The Chrysler Building is the spire on the right.
After a late winter snow storm last Thursday (March 7) the weather warmed quickly. The snow melted off and we went from unseasonably low temperatures to slightly unseasonably warm temperatures. The result—I heard my first spring peepers last night! Peepers are a sure sign of spring.
A comet is passing close to Earth. PanSTARRS has already been visible to the naked eye in the Southern Hemisphere but over the next week it will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. I have never seen a comet, so I hope that we have clear skies on the key nights. According to experts, the comet will be low in the western sky, and the best time to view it will be about 30 minutes after sunset. The best viewing days in the Northern Hemisphere will be March 12 and 13.
NASA has posted a video with everything you need to know.
Owls are very cool and interesting birds that are not seen all that often, because they are more active at night, when they hunt for food. The Great Horned owl is one of the most common species according to All About Birds. Here's a fascinating fact: this owl is the only animal that regularly eats skunks.
The Great Horned owl has been in the news twice in the last couple of weeks.
The Great Horned owl is found throughout all of North America and parts of South America.