A Little Lunar Laud

It seems only fitting to say a little something about the moon photos. The bright full moon against an otherwise dark sky seems to have an impact on us in one way or another. Let me start with the scientific perspective. We know that the inner rocky planets of our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) were formed during the asteroid period. These planets, including the earth, were formed when asteroids collided, forming masses of increasing size held together through the melting of iron, and gravitational force. Later, but still early in earth’s history, a large asteroid hit the earth obliquely, splitting off what became the moon. As we know, the moon’s gravity is the principal driver of the tides, aided to a lesser extent by the sun.

Then there’s the moon’s “sinister” side, giving rise to werewolf and vampire legends, witchcraft, some religious beliefs, and “mental illness” (i.e., lunacy, lunatics). Of course, there is the moon’s romantic side. As I was sitting behind my camera and tripod on those Maine rocks, two cars with young couples parked nearby and went onto the rocks to watch the full moon rise. Somehow, watching the moon relaxes us in such a way that it is easier to express affection. The aesthetics of that giant orange disk rising over the horizon apparently is one of our emotional triggers.

All this encourages people like me to go out and photograph the moon despite the possibility of last minute weather vagaries, bug bites during warmer weather, and frozen fingers during winter.

-From Portland and the mid-coast

New and Improved!

Starting today, you will find that posts in the Bird Focus category are now tagged with the birds’ North American population trend status over the past 30 years: Increasing, Stable, and/or Decreasing.  Those posts featuring more than one bird with differing population trends will be tagged for each trend, and the first mention of each bird in the post will carry its population trend in parentheses. This additional tagging will enable you to select posts on the basis of population trends.

Note that all categories and tags, along with any related articles, appear at the bottom of each post. By clicking on any one you will be able to select that group of posts.

Winners, Losers, and Draws

I’m way behind on my posts; this is partly due to my being out shooting in the field. I plan to post more soon! Some of these posts will discuss bird populations. My “How the Bird Photos Were Collected” page highlights not only how I collected my bird photos, but also my rationale for providing the population trend of each bird during the past 30 years or so. I’m in the process of sorting the bird photos by whether their populations are increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable to see what common characteristics each category might have.

Artificial intelligence and bird identification

Sharpen Your Skills and Help Train Merlin™.

A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this site shows you a bird and asks you questions for identification.  By so doing, Merlin begins to “learn” what people need to know. To build Merlin, Cornell Lab needs to know how thousands of people remember and describe birds.