The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 7, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Astrological event falls with Daylight Savings Time

Daily Item

---- — "Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when listening to the music of the wind and the silence of the stars?"

Possibly turning back our clocks this past Sunday could have been the biggest astrological event of this week.

Only problem is that Daylight Savings Time has little to do with the movement of the stars, or the sun, or even the moon.

The tradition of adjusting the time on our clocks is firmly grounded in our agrarian heritage. However, there is a pretty big "heavenly" event happening tonight with the planet Venus. The waning moon will be 5 degrees north of the ecliptic, while Venus is situated 4 degrees south of it.

This will be Venus' farthest-south declination in the past 80 years or more. The bulge of the crescent moon is pointing sunward now, and both it and Venus are particularly brilliant. In fact, last evening as we strolled out of the woods from hunting, Venus was so bright that it appeared to be a low-flying airplane approaching with its landing lights switched onto high beam.

n Another dumb crook story

Timothy James Mott, 34, of Columbia Cross Roads, has been charged with four felony counts of aggravated assault, a misdemeanor count of fleeing or attempting to elude police officers, three summary counts of possessing loaded firearms in a vehicle, a summary count of unlawful use of lights and numerous traffic violations following a crash early on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, this "jack-lighting joker" injured two Bradford County-based Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officers as he tried to speed away from his crime. Spotlighting deer is illegal in our state between 11 p.m. and sunrise. Mott was seen spotlighting around 2:30 a.m. and the WCOs were called in to investigate. They gave a short chase and then set up a road block.

Mott must have thought that his truck could ram its way through the road block because he drove right into the fully-lit Game Commission vehicle injuring the officers, himself and causing a lot of damage to the vehicles. According to a Game Commission news release, three loaded rifles and a spotlight were found inside of Mott's vehicle. Mark Rutkowski, the Game Commission's law-enforcement supervisor for the Northeast Region, stated that, "Our wildlife conservation officers work all hours to curtail poaching activities and protect Pennsylvania's wildlife resources."

n Feeder cameras

The good folks up at Cornell University's Ornithology Laboratory have launched their 2013 FeederWatch Program. Individuals, classes of students, scouting organizations and anyone else can log onto to learn about all of the resources that are offered from this lab.

What's most impressive is that the site is interactive. You can watch birds eating and playing at feeders in faraway places. You can also post your feeder pictures and discuss the birds that you're seeing locally with other bird watchers. There are very successful FeederWatch Cam stationed in Ontario and in Manitoba that are a lot of fun to watch. The official "FeederWatch Season" starts this Friday, so this is a great time to check out this site.

Please keep in mind that you'll want to check out the cams during daylight hours. Otherwise, you'll get to watch a really boring "show."