Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist (December 17, 2019)—Recently, there has been some debate about the value of protecting a 10-mile zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park (henceforth Chaco or Chaco Park) and two of its outlying communities. Some have suggested that a smaller zone of protection, perhaps 5 miles in radius, would provide sufficient protection for the ancient Chacoan-Puebloan communities that lie outside the Park’s boundary. This idea is mistaken. In this post, I will make the case for protecting the significant and fragile ancient communities that lie within 10 miles of Chaco’s boundary.
News about Eastern Wildway The Eastern Wildway is home to a broad diversity of wildlife, including red wolves, Canada lynx, cougars, martens, and other native carnivores. Many resident plants, birds, fish, salamanders, and butterflies are found nowhere else on Earth. Stretching from eastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, the wildlife corridor traverses a wide array of eco-regions and climates, and contains some of North America’s most beloved national parks, preserves, and scenic rivers.
The Western Wildway is Wildlands Network’s vision of the world’s most extensive network of protected, connected lands. The 6,000-mile Western Wildway will provide wide-ranging wildlife like wolves, cougars, and other animals with room to roam, while also sustaining important ecological processes like pollination and carbon storage, and safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations.
The Pacific Wildway will reconnect, restore, and rewild the Pacific region of North America, from British Columbia to Baja California. It will provide protections for countless wildlife native to the Pacific region, including gray wolves, wolverines, grizzly bears, northern spotted owls, orcas, and salmon.
This week we begin to see the phenomena associated with the winter solstice. The solstice “season” begins with the year’s earliest sunsets, which occur all of this week. Here in Washington the Sun disappears below the horizon at 4:46 pm EST. He will gradually start to set later starting on December 13th. Although this gives the illusion of the days getting longer, we won’t see our latest sunrise until early January. In between the solstice occurs on the 21st, which will be the year’s shortest day. This seemingly odd behavior is due to the way we now keep time.
December’s Full Moon is variously known as the Long Night Moon, Old Moon, or the Moon Before Yule. Since this Full Moon occurs closest to the winter solstice is will be the most northerly one of the year, beaming down on the frosty landscape below.
In western North America, Wildlands Network envisions the world’s most extensive network of protected, connected lands: the 6,000-mile Western Wildway, also know as the Spine of the Continent.
As part of the Western Wildway Priority Wildlife Corridor, Caja plays a critical role in connecting a vital wildlife corridor that runs along the Upper Rio Grande Watershed from the state of Colorado through New Mexico. The plateau and canyons are vital habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals. Beyond the large, iconic predators and prey, the Caja is home to gray fox, badger, burrowing owls, mountain plover, long-billed curlew, and spotted bat. A threatened songbird, the gray vireo, can be spotted among the junipers and piñons on the plateau. The Caja is one of the last great opportunities to protect the West as it has existed for thousands of years.
On May 28, 1854, William David Thoreau, who earned some of his keep by collecting specimens for science, wrote in his diary: “The inhumanity of science concerns me, as when I am tempted to kill a rare snake that I may ascertain its species. I feel that this is not the means of acquiring true knowledge.”
I feel this way about banding, as well. I understand the defense of the practice but wonder if we can’t move on to less intrusive observations.
how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing.
Remarkable video and conclusions. (A pox on anyone who would kill such a magnificent creature.) [via a favorite blog: https://www.southernrockiesnatureblog.com/
Deer, you say? That might be a good answer, insofar as a common formula is that an adult must eat a deer-size animal every week to ten days. But down on the Rio Grande north of Albuquerque, researchers at the Pueblo of Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources collared and tracked one male who specialized in badgers.
I wonder if the same people who hate coyotes also hate cougars.
McAllister explains: “We know from exhaustive DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their continental kin. They are behaviourally distinct, swimming from island to island and preying on sea animals. They are also morphologically distinct — they are smaller in size and physically different from their mainland counterparts.” Paquet maintains that these types of coastal wolves aren’t an anomaly, but a remnant: “There’s little doubt these wolves once lived along Washington State’s coast too. Humans wiped them out. They still live on islands in southeast Alaska, but they’re heavily persecuted there.”
Remarkable photos at the link.
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Cacao came from a region 1,200 miles south of Chaco, so its presence at Chaco a millennium ago, as well as the discovery there of thousand-year-old parrot feathers and skeletons, indicates that the early Pueblo people who lived at Chaco were exchanging goods with their southern neighbors before the Spanish arrived around 1500.
January’s Full Moon on the 12th at 6:34 am Eastern Standard Time is popularly known as the Wolf Moon, a name derived from Native American lore, or the Moon After Yule.
The Moon brightens the evening sky this week, waxing toward the Full phase as she courses through the late autumn and early winter constellations. Full Moon occurs on the 13th at 7:06 pm Eastern Standard Time. December’s Full Moon is known as the Moon Before Yule in the skylore of European Christianity. Other names, such as the Cold Moon, Big Moon, and Long Night Moon, reflect the influence of Celtic and Native American lore. December’s Full Moon occurs near Luna’s most northerly declination for the year, flooding the winter landscape with her pale light. This year she appears a bit brighter than usual thanks to the Full phase occurring near the Moon’s close perigee, which falls on the 12th. On the evening of the 12th you’ll find the nearly-full Moon pass through the heart of the Hyades star cluster which forms the “face” of Tauris, the Bull. Watch Luna creep closer to the bright star Aldebaran as the evening passes. At 11:07 pm EST the star will wink out as the Moon’s limb covers it. You can see it re-appear at 12:21 am.
The Full Moon washes out the annual Geminid meteor shower, which peaks on the night of the 13th. This is normally one of the year’s most reliable showers, and under dark skies it usually produces one or two “shooting stars” per minute. The meteors are generally slower than the August Perseids, and the radiant, in the constellation of Gemini, is well-placed after around 10:00 pm. Bright moonlight will hamper the number of meteors that the average observer will see this year, but a patient observer may be able to spot 20 or so per hour, even from urban locations.
Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!
This coincidence happens three times in 2016. On October 16 and December 14, the moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.
The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.
Full Moon occurs on the 16th at 12:23 am Eastern Daylight Time. October’s Full Moon is popularly known as the Hunter’s Moon. The geometry of the Moon’s path in the sky is similar to last month’s Harvest Moon, so the interval between successive moonrises around the time of Full Moon causes Luna to appear to rise at nearly the same time for a few nights. In September this phenomena was used by farmers to use the light of the rising Moon to help them bring in more crops. This month hunters have a bit of extra light to pursue game across the stubble of the harvested fields.