First Day of Spring

Moon Rise in Buckhead

Moon Rise in Buckhead

Today, March 20, 2015 is the first day of spring, which is the vernal equinox.  An equinox occurs twice a year, around March 20th and September 22nd.  On the day of the equinox, the center of the Sun spends roughly an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, so night and day are about the same length.

Night Sky and the Milky Way - Arches NP

Night Sky and the Milky Way – Arches NP

Why are we talking about the equinox?  Because it made us think about night and how important the darkness is to wildlife. And to us.

The International Dark Sky Organization is a non-profit which is “…fighting to preserve the night”.  They have a brochure that talks about light pollution and it’s impact on wildlife.  In the brochure, the ‘Solutions’ section tells about how important darkness is and things you can do to help keep it dark.

Last fall we were in Arches National Park at night where you can see the stars and the Milky Way and really experience the night. Compare the two pictures above of the night sky:  the first taken earlier this week right outside our front door and the second in Arches National Park.

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

We have our own night critters right here. At least three kinds of owls that we’ve heard or seen, bats, opossums and frogs just to name a few.  The Eastern Screech-Owl nested for several years in our yard.   And just recently we recorded the Barred Owl, a frequent nocturnal visitor, one night outside our back door.

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