Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Some visitors to our winter bird feeders are permanent residents. Birds like the blue jay, chickadee, and tufted titmouse live and breed locally merely moving about from one food source to another. Others have migrated into our area for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons are to take advantage of a good food supply and better shelter. Our regular winter visiting songbirds, like the junco (photo) and white-throat sparrow, find our area has a good supply of the seeds and nuts and provides a safer environment then the more northern regions where they spend the summer. Generally the snow is not as deep or long lasting. More importantly, the days are longer allowing them more daylight to feed. Most songbirds have a weak sense of smell and rely on their eyes for finding food. Some of our winter birds only visit us occasionally. Pine siskins, evening grosbeaks and redpolls make their homes in the northern coniferous forest. If there is a poor northern seed crop, they will move further south into our region in search of food. Some years they flock to our feeders, while in other years, they are nowhere in sight. What all our winter songbirds have in common is the ability to eat seeds and nuts. Most of the songbirds that mainly depend on insects or nectar left our area in the fall for better feeding grounds.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
What a wonderful day for enjoying the outside. The recent snowfall has been cleaned up and now it is time to go out and enjoy this “splendiferous” day. The Ridegbury section of Ridgefield received 11.5 inches Friday. So, the Ridgefield Public Golf Course is in great shape for sledding, x-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just hiking. If you don’t want to break trail, no problem, as there has already been quite a few adventures out there already. Take the dog along with you as there is an abundance of wildlife tracks to sniff out. Our resident fox has made his daily rounds. The deer have cleared areas in their quest for acorns and grass. The sun is out and the temperature is a balmy 26º. Ridgefield is brimming with open space, so go out and enjoy at least one. Then you can justify kicking back and enjoying a cup of rich hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. (Picture is writer's view of the Ridgefield Golf Course)
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The constellation Orion location makes it visible from all the inhabited parts of Earth. Consequentially, nearly all cultures had some type of myth or legend related to it. Usually it has been associated with a hunter, warrior or some heroic male figure. However being dominate during the northern hemisphere winter, it was frequently associated with storms. Some of these earliest storm legends started with the Babylonians. The Romans referred to Orion as the “bringer of clouds” or the stormy one”. During the first Punic war (264BC-241BC) the destruction of a Roman fleet was attributed to the fact that it set sail with Orion rising – thus “the stormy one” sent a devastating storm.
The sky was man’s earliest calendar. Combining myths with the stars made it easier to remember which stars represented which season. The Navajo called it “The First Slender One”. When it set at dusk, in May, they planted their crops. The Aztecs called it the "Fire Drill" as it marked the start of the New Fire Ceremony which postponed the end of the world (winter solstice). In Southern hemisphere, the belt is referred to as the “Three Kings”, “The Sisters” or “Three Mary’s”. Its appearance marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
The Egyptians associated it with the Osiris, the god of rebirth and the underworld. When a pharaoh died he was transformed into a god in the sky. The Giza Pyramids mirror the pattern of Orion and the air shaft in the Great Pyramid King’s chamber was aligned with the star Alnitak within it – thus providing the king a direct pathway to heaven. (Photo credit: Matthew Spinelli -http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap030207.html)