Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our hero

Pale Male with twig at nest, Feb 21, 2009
Photo courtesy of

Several sharp-eyed readers have written in about the photo I used two days ago, illustrating a report about Pale Male. Linda Maslin of Blue Bell, PA wrote:

Hi Marie,
I think that's one of Lincoln's "stinkers," not out hero!

She's right.

I've double-checked the photo above and it is indisputably "His Guyness."

Friday, February 27, 2009

My hero

Pale Male on way to nest --February 24, 2008
Photo courtesy of

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obviously to err is human...

In regard to yesterday's post, Blogger Robert B Schmunk writes:


The image you posted on your blog on Wednesday is obviously not a real photo. The moon in the image is about 15 times wider than the sun. But when seen from the surface of Earth, the moon and the sun subtend almost exactly the same angular distance. That they are the same apparent width is why solar eclipses are so darned interesting, with the "diamond necklace" effect when they line up perfectly. Some Googling reveals that the image is a piece of art done by a German named Inga Nielsen. Her homepage is at and the image is in her gallery at There's also a piece about it on the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day at about this.

Here is the text from the NASA site, that appeared on June 20, 2006 :

Illustration Credit & Copyright: Inga Nielsen
Explanation: Is this a picture of a sunset from Earth's North Pole? Regardless of urban legends circulating the Internet, the answer is no. The above scene was drawn to be an imaginary celestial place that would be calm and peaceful, and therefore titled Hideaway. The scene could not exist anywhere on the Earth because from the Earth, the Moon and the Sun always have nearly the same angular size. This is particularly apparent, for example, during solar eclipses. Still, the scene drawn is quite striking, and the crescent part of the "moon" shown is approximately accurate given the location of the parent star. In reality, the North Pole of Earth looks different. Starting earlier this month, the North Pole even has a web camera returning near-live pictures

PS Here's a link to bookmark for the Astronomy Picture of the Day, provided by Mary Birchard:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Very cold in Central Park these days. So I thought I'd post a photo from a place a bit north of here.

Sunset and moonrise at the North Pole.

Jimmy Lewis sent in the [unattributed] photo above, along with the following [also unattributed] text:

A scene you will probably never get to see. This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point.You also see the sun below the moon. An amazing photo and not one easily duplicated. You may want to pass it on to others. The Chinese have a saying: 'When someone shares with you something of value, you have an obligation to share it with others."

PS The Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds are coming into the park. Can the Phoebe be far behind?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Redder, reddest. and just plain magnificent

Photographer Murray Head responds to my posting of a "redder-bellied Woodpecker" the other day with some photos and commentary:

My photo was meant to reveal a real reddish "belly" for which
I believe the woodpecker is named... not for its red feathers. *
If you would like redder feathers... how about this Robin?
He was near the maintenance field today signaling spring was nigh...

Want redder yet... on The Point I encounter this very handsome Cardinal...
You don't get redder than that. You don't. You know you don't.
(No color enhancement... honest)

Now at the Upper Lobe... An example of nature's elegant expression of white, gold and gray... Central Park's magnificent Ring-billed Gull

All photos taken by Murray Head on February 21, 2009

*In a subsequent note Murray adds "I trust most of your readers will get the tongue in cheek tone to my umbrage."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flashy winter visitors on The Lake

Jack Meyer reports that there are nine [count 'em, 9] Hooded Mergansers on The Lake today.
Hooded Merganser, male

Hooded Merganser, female

Photos by Lloyd Spitalnik -
taken at The Lake in Central Park on 12/12/07