February 1979


CLUSTER FLIES have been out in numbers for the past few days, maybe about a week. Is it mating time? Also saw a sparrow in the shrub outside the kitchen window a few days ago. It didn’t stay long enough for me to identify it. A species of wasp that seems to have been hibernating in my house is beginning to reactivate. I’ve found two dead bodies and noticed one live wasp upstairs. Maybe POLISTES WASPS?

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SOLAR ECLIPSE. Darkness at Noon. It will be 38 years until there will be another total eclipse observable in the U.S. (August 21, 2017) It will be 360 years until the next total eclipse at the same place. It’s 26 degrees and snowing for this solar eclipse. I started walking at 11:00 a.m. Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court saved himself by knowing the date of an eclipse. In 1925 totality was observable from Manhattan. In about 800 Charlemagne’s son Louis died of fright at a solar eclipse. Solar Eclipse on ABC-TV over Portland at 11:00+ a.m. (8:12+ a.m. in Portland), 2 minutes and 14 seconds. So dark they could see stars, Mercury, and Venus. 12:30 p.m.: Birds still at the feeder. Sun behind thick clouds. Dogs barking — chasing deer on the Mayo hillside? Woodpecker working on suet. Think I saw a RAVEN soaring to the west of the sun at about 12:20 at the Nature Center. CHICKADEE singing fee-bee notes. 1:00 p.m.: Sun came out, Looked at it through exposed film. Saw a little bit of the moon covering the sun.

At the feeder I noticed one EVENING GROSBEAK MALE with a greenish beak. The others’ beaks were still yellow.

It’s beginning to feel like spring — drizzly, muddy, humid.

Walked 1.6 miles in 25 minutes. Looked at the BIG DIPPER at 8:30 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. I couldn’t really tell the difference in position. I confused myself because I didn’t take notes. It was a cold clear night, 20 degrees below zero, and the moon was one day short of full.

I heard a CHICKADEE singing a fee-bee note this morning.