Sunday, January 31, 2016

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Feb. 2nd and Thurs., Feb. 4th at Bear Mountain Reservation in CT.
Take exit 5 off of I-84. Follow Rt. 37 North past all the shopping centers. Go past the
commercialized district and eventually past the federal prison into the more
rural part of northern Danbury. About 0.2 mile past the prison entrance, on
the right, is Bear Mountain Road which is 2.8 miles from I-84. Turn right
onto Bear Mountain Road and follow it for 0.5 mile. Turn right into the
entrance of Bear Mountain Reservation.
Meet at 8:30am.
Contact:  Mendy Polchinski at 203-241-1770 or

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The snow is finally here!
Come join the DC Women's Hiking Group for snowshoeing at the Ridgefield Golf Course on Tues., Jan.  26th and Thurs., Jan.  28th.
There will be snowshoes to borrow.
Take Ridgebury Rd. and make a left onto Dhly.
Meet in the parking area at 8:30am.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Comet Catalina

A visitor from the Orb Cloud, the most outer region of our solar system, Comet Catalina was first thought to be an asteroid with a short period orbit.  But after further observation it was determined to have been knocked out of the Orb Cloud by some passing nameless star long ago and was on a several million year trajectory course out of our solar system.  It was discovered on Oct 31, 2013 at the Catalina Sky Survey’s Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, located in the Catalina Mountains outside of Tucson, Arizona as part of NASA-funded program to find Near Earth Objects.  The comet will come closest to Earth on Jan. 12th, a mere 66.9 million miles away.  Officially named C/2013 US10 this one time visitor to our night sky has two tails. A plasma tail made of ionized gas, and a dust tail made of small solid particles.  Because the escaping gas and dust are affected by the Sun in slightly different ways, the tails point in slightly different directions.   The core of the comet is like a dirty snowball.  As it approaches the sun’s warmth the gas and dust sublimate into a glowing atmosphere called the coma.  Scientists believe that Comet Catalina is a young comet, traveling in a chaotic orbit affected by galactic tides and passing stars.  This fly-by is really the last it will see of our Sun.  As it sling shoot around the sun, it built up enough velocity  to escape the Sun’s  gravitational force and continue its wild ride into the universe beyond. Photo:  Amateur astronomer Rich Tyson, the Slooh Observatories on the Canary Islands Dec. 12. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

The DC Women's Hiking Group will meet Tues., Dec. 8th and Thurs., Dec. 10th at Topstone Park in Redding, CT.

Take Topstone Rd. off of Rt. 7.
Follow road over RR tracks until it becomes a dirt road.
Shortly after, a parking area will be on the right side of the road.

Meet at 8:30am.

Any questions, please contact Mendy at or 203-241-1770.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

October Birding Blog - Garden of Ideas

How is it that sometimes the best birding occurs right in the parking lot!  A very small bird called a kinglet was seen high in a tree, nervously gleaning insects as we gathered in the parking lot to begin at the Garden of Ideas.  A walk around the marsh area resulted in some Warbler sightings, and although we didn’t get close enough to more specifically identify them, their yellow coloration and shape put us in the right family.  A couple of flocks of red-winged blackbirds flew low over the marsh, and high in the sky was a turkey Vulture with its characteristic V-shaped silhouette and long fingered wingtips.  A white throated sparrow sat in a low bush within easy viewing range, and its very distinctive black and white striped head and bright white throat patch made it easy to identify.  We saw and heard the usual assortvment of blue jays, American crows, goldfinches and downy woodpeckers as we walked around the grounds.  The eastern phoebe was also spotted, a brown and white flycatcher that sits upright on a branch and wags its tail in a distinctive manner.  Best of all was a red- shouldered hawk (pictured) that sat regally at the top of a dead tree surveying the marshlands.  These medium sized hawks have reddish under parts and a banded tail, and are often found near swamps, as they will hunt for frogs and snakes as well as mice.  Next month we will see fewer migrants heading south, and more of the birds that stay for the winter. Photo:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Nov. 10th and Thurs., Nov. 12th at
Saugatuck Falls Natural Area in Redding, CT.
The entrance is located between
mail box # 65 and 73 on Diamond Hill Road in Redding. Follow
straight in until you see the large sign (entrance marker) on your left.
Parking is at the end of the road.
Meet at 8:30am.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Thursday, Nov. 5th at Aldrich Park in Ridgefield.
From Rt. 35 take Farmingville Rd.
Follow until you reach New Rd.  Turn left onto New Rd.
Parking area will be on the left.
Meet at 8:30am.
Contact info or questions:  Mendy Polchinski at or 203-241-1770 cell.