What is moonwatching?

Put simply, moon watching  is the watching of birds, flying at night, as they pass in front of the moon. As unlikely as it seems, it is one of the best ways how one can observe  (even if just in silhouette-mode) nocturnal bird migration. And if you thought that birds do not fly at night, think twice about that –  billions of passerines and near-passerines do their yearly northbound and southbound migrations under night cover. It is mainly the raptors and the bigger birds that migrate during the day.

We will spare you from all the romantic flatulence about the unique alignment of natural  phenomena –  the moon,  the bird, the shadow, destiny.   All of us that are kindled in our own good way at the sight of silent nocturnal migrants shadowing against a shimmering moon backdrop. If the sight of a bird shadow across the moon makes you go ‘tick’, then probably you can probably understand that this goes beyond collecting observation records for scientific research.

Having said that, do beware that there is hardly anything romantic about  staying up at the little hours of the night grilling dilated pupils against the full shine of a full moon. Persist and resist at your own peril. Particularly if you fancy getting an inverted image of the Tycho moon crater imprinted semi-permanently on your retina, that is!

 

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