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Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Equinox Eclipse!

At 6:45 p.m. EDT today the sun appears directly overhead at Earth's equator, making the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the spring equinox has the unusual distinction of coinciding with both a supermoon and a total solar eclipse (87% here in the midlands). According to timeanddate.com, there hasn't been a solar eclipse on either the March or September equinox since 1662!

View from the volunteers notice board at Brandon
What better place to view such an event than Brandon Marsh and so I arrived, unbelievably, to clear blue skies shortly after 9 a.m. By the time I'd set up the tripod and camera the eclipse was well underway, climaxing at around 9.35.

The climax
A very noisy Barnacle Goose was a constant companion on Goose Pool and at least a couple of Chiffchaff's were singing close by. Shortly before 9.30 there was a definite eerie atmosphere descending across the reserve, even the Barnacle had fell silent! The light had definitely reduced and the birds did in fact begin to quieten down. I suppose the whole event only lasted minutes before things began to return to some normality but what an amazing experience.

The moon starts to move away!
After the major event a tour of the reserve produced the first Little-ringed Plover on East Marsh and the afternoon warmth helped a number of Butterflies take to the wing and these included: (9) Brimstone, (1) Small Tortoiseshell and (1) Peacock. No further spring arrivals but one or two Great-spotted Woodpeckers drumming, nice views of a Bank Vole and both Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tits nest building added to a very enjoyable day.