Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Spring Equinox

Tuesday 20th March 2012
A beautiful start to a beautiful day.
The first day of Spring.

A Message From Chick of Elvis

translated as I'm sitting on eggs, I'm not budging for no-one, go away!

I Never Tire of Watching Owls.
Today I spent another glorious day stuck inside at school. When I returned home, I was keen to get out on the land. Foremost in my thoughts was the possibility of a migrant bird choosing my farm on which to feed up. On the way round the land, I took the opportunity to check the new trees for signs of growth and to check for rabbit damage. All was well and most of the young trees seem to be budding up ready to burst into life. 

Two Mute Swans had taken up residence in the field just a few yards beyond the end of my land. As I sat on the banks of the dyke watching them, a Barn Owl came bouncing along surveying the dykes. If you look carefully, it's in the picture above the swans, up in that glorious blue sky. I watched the owl following the system of dykes, when suddenly into my binocular view flew another, but this one larger with slightly less stiff wing beats - this one a Short-eared Owl. One or two birds have clearly taken a liking to the area as sightings are getting more frequent and closer and closer to the farm. To see these two birds together in such clean light was a privilege. The Barn Owl then flew directly to the owl nestbox which stands on a pole next to South Holland Main Drain,  where there was quite a lengthy tussle with a pair of Kestrels, clearly with their eyes on this penthouse residence.

Equinox - an explanation
And now, since the sun is such an important part of my life this year (not just because it keeps me alive!), from tomorrow's Guardian (I travelled in time to get this article):

Spring equinox heralds official end of winter

The Earth drifted through a major astronomical checkpoint at 5.14am GMT on Tuesday, marking the official onset of spring in the northern hemisphere.

The spring, or vernal, equinox marks the point in space and time when the sun moves across the celestial equator, an imaginary circle projected into the sky above the real equator.

... ... ...

Seasons on Earth are driven by the planet's orbit and 23.5 degree tilt from the vertical axis. As the Earth circles the sun, it can show more of its northern or southern poles to the sun. But when the Earth passes through an equinox, both poles receive equal sunlight, because the planet is tilted neither towards or away from the sun.

The next part of this article explains something that had been puzzling me. Howcome sunrise and sunset are more than 12 hours apart on the equinox, and howcome the day lasted 12 hours a few days ago?

While the equinox signals a time when day and night are equal, the moment when both share 12 hours apiece happens days earlier, because of atmospheric effects.

"The Earth's atmosphere delays the sunset and makes the sunrise earlier," said Robert Massey at the Royal Astronomical Society. "When the sun is on the horizon, light is bent round because we have a thick atmosphere, and that appears to raise the sun in the sky. So when the sun appears on the horizon, it would actually have set if we had no atmosphere."


In short, IT'S SPRING and we get more than 12 hours of light every day from now till September.

Tomorrow sowing begins in earnest outdoors.

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