Sam and I just got back from looking at the conjunction this evening. Venus was of course the much brighter of the two. The encroaching clouds actually helped a bit giving some variety to the background. This was with a lens set at 70mm for 2 seconds.
ASCA had a field trip and Audubon Arkansas had a “Go Wild in your Backyard” event where ASCA was cohosting a free bird walk. So Sam and I went east to Audubon Arkansas to help Dan, as if he needed any, and represent ASCA and then sped west to join ASCA at Lake Maumelle. Later we went to a CAAS meeting so by then end of the day, we were ready for home.
The AANC event seemed well received with about thirty people attending with Sandra Morris from CAAS and Debbie Haynes whose home we visited last winter when she had an Anna’s Hummingbird. We walked back behind the AANC and saw a variety of birds, nothing exotic but still enjoyable.
We met up with ASCA at the Jolly Roger Marina before going to Loon Point, the Hundley Road Causeway, Vista Point, and the recently dubbed Old Chimney Trail off of Highway 113. We were hoping for a glimpse of the Yellow-billed Loon but he was a no show. I hope he’s still around. As far as I know he has not been seen since Sam and I saw him on Wednesday following in the footsteps of several other birders. We did get good looks at a Pacific Loon and a Red-throated Loon though so that was good.
Since the loon was last seen opposite the Hundley Road Causeway on the far side of the lake I had the idea of going down an old abandoned road I had discovered from Google Earth. I didn’t know it because I had not walked the entire length before but that road leads up to a local minor landmark, The Old Chimney hence the new name we gave it. The trail does lead right up to the water so we had good views and could see both Vista Point and the Hundley Road Causeway from there and a large bay. We had good views of the Pacific Loon from there plus other more common waterfowl.
After a couple hours rest, Sam and went to a meeting of the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society. It was packed considering the clouds and snow on the ground. Bill Engberg gave us a presentation of the building of his 24 inch telescope. Once completed, as far as we know, it will be in a tie for the largest telescope in the state.