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It's About Time - March 2013

Capillary thread moss, Bryum capillare.

Watching ducks on the Delta Ponds keeps me entertained. Shovelers continue their circle dances this month, the males trying to pair bond before heading north in April for nesting season. You still have time to experience this courtship ritual unless you choose the rare sunny morning when they line up on a log to bask in the warm rays.

A less happy sight is a big ash tree that has been completely girdled by beavers. It is a solitary individual which sheltered a small island gracefully but now that tree is doomed. I wonder how long it will take for it to fall over? It is a big tree that still has a lot of wood left in its trunk. If it doesn’t fall over this season, the beaver’s gnawing efforts will have been wasted because the tasty twigs will be too dry to feed on.

The crescent moon will be very close to Jupiter on Sunday evening, March 17. Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the sky; this conjunction will help identify it. There is a chance that a comet discovered last June will put on a show this month. However, nobody can predict if it will be glorious or a dud like Kohoutek. A bigger comet is due later this year, in November.

Mosses are starting to look luxuriant this spring, as the mild winter has encouraged robust growth. The maturing capsules of the capillary thread moss (aka nodding bobbers) are prominent on concrete blocks and walls everywhere.