Astronomy Lovers, this is your year!

There is so much to get excited about in the night sky, here is a partial list of the highlights to come:

2019 is featuring five eclipses, a rare planet transit, one of the best meteor showers and a super blood wolf moon. The new year will also bring three supermoons, a blue moon, multiple meteor showers, close approach by the moon and Jupiter and several rocket launches. For more information, check out KTVU’s recent post. (https://www.ktvz.com/news/national-world/super-blood-wolf-moon-5-eclipses-among-2019s-astronomy-events/953924318)

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The first major event you don’t want to miss is the super, blood, wolf moon on January 20th photo credit: NRIS

A “blood moon” is essentially a poetic name for what’s called a “total lunar eclipse” that occurs during a supermoon. On an ordinary day, the moon gets its shine from direct sunlight reflecting on its surface, but during a lunar eclipse, the moon moves through the Earth’s umbra (the darkest and most central area of Earth’s shadow).  During this time, the Earth, moon, and sun are almost perfectly aligned. You’d think this would make the moon go completely dark, but instead, the moon gets illuminated by indirect sunlight. The first full moon in January is typically known as a “wolf moon”; however other cultures may have different names for each month’s full moon. North and South America should have a great view if clouds don’t get in your way. NASA projects the total eclipse duration at about 1 hour and 2 minutes. The peak, in Oregon, is expected at approximately 9:12 pm PST (or 12:15 am EST), according to Space.com.  No special equipment will be necessary to view the eclipse, just find a dark, clear, uncluttered bit of night sky, then sit back and enjoy the show. For those of you who go to bed early, you’ll have to wait until 2021 to see the next one.

The Cove Palisades State Park will have summer programs highlighting some of the years special astronomical peaks beginning in May – Check out the Programs Tab to join us! Prineville Reservoir State Park, just an hour east of The Cove, boasts the darkest night sky in Central Oregon. This is the 20th annual, Star Party which will be all day fun for the whole family. Check http://www.oregonstateparks.org for more information, coming soon. Also, visit the Oregon Observatory at http://www.oregonobservatory.org for telescope stargazing that is out of this world!

A BIG thank you to our visitors this year!

“JR Beaver” and park staff had the privilege to provide:

  • 18 kayak tours
  • 64 junior ranger programs
  • 25 school field trips
  • 147 park programs
  • 9 special events

To more than 10,000 visitors at The Cove and Jefferson County in 2018.

We can’t do all of this alone. We would like to thank our awesome partners and guest speakers: Portland General Electric, Crook County Search & Rescue, BLM, National Crooked River Grassland, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue, Carrie Gordon (USFS-ret), Robert Smith and Paul Patton (OPRD), Sunriver Nature Center, Museum at Warm Springs, and Culver Middle School.

Here are just a few highlights from this year….

We wish you a happy holiday season and a bright 2019!

— The Cove Palisades State Park Team

Bull Trout are Biting

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Regulations require fisherman to return Bull trout in most locations unharmed so identification is important. 

Although the species was once abundant and widespread, bull trout now exist primarily in upper tributary streams and several lake and reservoir systems. The main populations remaining in the lower 48 states are in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington with a small population in northern Nevada. Bull trout have been extirpated from California. Bull trout may live near areas where they were spawned or migrate from small streams to larger streams and rivers or from streams to lakes, reservoirs or salt water. Migration is critical to healthy populations.  Bull trout numbers are declining because they are more sensitive to increased water temperatures, poor water quality and degraded stream habitat than many other salmonids. Further threats to bull trout include hybridization and competition with non-native brook trout, brown trout and lake trout, over fishing, poaching, and man-made structures that block migration. Bull Trout are listed as a threatened species in the State of Oregon.

Bull trout are members of the salmon family known as char. Char are distributed farther north than any other group of freshwater fish except Alaskan Blackfish and are well adapted for life in very cold water. Bull trout, Dolly Varden and lake trout are species of char native to the northwest. They can grow to more than 20 pounds in lake environments.

Since Bull trout need cold, clean water to survive, they are typically found in the headwaters of Oregon rivers.  They are predatory fish, eating mostly insects as juveniles and other fish as adults.  Spawning occurs in the autumn when water temperatures drop below 50F/10C .  The Metolious River and the Metolious arm of Lake Billy Chinook are two of the rare places in Oregon where you can catch and keep Bull Trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Bull trout fishing is good in the Metolius arm and fair in the Deschutes and Crooked arms.  Harvest is limited to 1 bull trout over 24-inches under the daily trout limit. Note: Anglers can now keep 5 kokanee in addition to daily trout limit. No bag or size limits on brown trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for METOLIUS RIVER: rainbow trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing. Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout. Fishing is restricted to fly-fishing only upstream of Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). Artificial flies and lures permitted below Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). No bait allowed.

What can be done long term to help ensure the survival of the Bull trout? 

A strong commitment by private citizens, industry, state, federal and tribal groups to change, reduce or eliminate activities that degrade streams and rivers will be necessary to truly recover many species of native fish. Much bull trout habitat in mainstream rivers and streams is privately owned, making conservation activities on private lands a key element to restoring aquatic habitat and recovering native fish populations. In some areas, reducing the potential for hybridization of bull trout with non-native fish species would enhance bull trout survival and recovery.

 

Don’t Miss the Night Sky this Week

Blood Moon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bpchua/25759275477/)

A lot is going on in the night sky during the last week of July. Some of the shortest nights of the year in the Northern Hemisphere give us a quick glimpse into the heavens.  Planetary viewing is great with Venus the bright Evening Star, Saturn, Mars and Mercury all showing off.

If you are coming out to The Cove, this is a great time to bring your telescope.  If you don’t have one, the sky is still dazzling for those of us that enjoy staying up late.  Ranger Erin will be leading full moon night hikes at 9 pm on Thursday, July 26 in the Deschutes Campground/meet at the store. Also, Sunday July 29 in the Crooked River Campground/meet at the Amphitheater.

Things to Watch For:

Thursday, July 26 – Mars at Opposition – Get ready to see the Red Planet up close: Just after Mars reaches opposition with the sun, observers on Earth will have their closest view of the planet since 2003.  Mars will be brightest, it will reach that closest point on July 31.

Friday, July 27 – Full “Hay” or “Thunder” Moon – It’s also a Blood Moon (The lunar eclipse occurring will not be visible from North America)

July 17 – August 24 – Perseid Meteor Showers (Peak is August 11 and 12)

2018 Programa de ¡Vamos a Acampar!

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Stay and play for free at one of the three camping events in Central Oregon!
¡Quédate y juega gratuitamente en uno de los tres eventos en el centro de Oregon!

• June 2-3 (one night only) – Tumalo State Park, 5 miles NE of Bend on OB Riley Road.
Junio 2-3 (una noche solamente) — Tumalo State Park, 5 millas al noreste de Bend en la calle OB Riley.

• Aug. 17-19 (two nights) — The Cove Palisades State Park, 16 miles SW of Madras.
Agosto 17-19 (dos noches) — The Cove Palisades State Park, 16 millas al suroeste de Madras.

• Aug. 24-26 (two nights) — Prineville Reservoir State Park, 16 miles SE of Prineville.
Agosto 24-26 (dos noches) — Prineville Reservoir State Park, 16 millas al sureste de Prineville.

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Registration/La registracion click here:   To Register

Registration for Tumalo event closes Mon, May 21.
La registración para Tumalo cerrara el lunes 21 de mayo.

Registration for August events closes Monday, August 6.
La registración para los eventos en agosto cerrara el lunes 6 de agosto.

We provide: Camping gear, Saturday night dinner, and the ingredients to make s’mores.  Plus, you will learn about the park, take a guided hike, and try kayaking (August events only).  We’ll also help you set up your tent, cook over a campfire, and learn how to be a great camping neighbor.
Ofrecemos: Equipo para campamento, la cena del sábado, y los ingredientes para hacer malvaviscos. Además, vas a aprender acerca del parque, participar en una caminata guiada por un guardabosque, y probar paseos en kayak (solo durante los eventos en agosto). También te ayudaremos a construir tu tienda, cocinar en una fogata, y aprender cómo ser un gran vecino de campamento.
Questions? Call Jill Nishball, 541-388-6073.
¿Preguntas? Llama a Priscilla Calleros, 541-633-7834.

National Bat Appreciation Day

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Photo (c) Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org.

National Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17th.  April is a good time of year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. If you see one, be sure not to touch them.

It is also an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. One important reason to celebrate bats is that they are considered to be an “insectivorous” creature because they rid our world of many annoying insects.  In one hour, a bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes.  Oregon bats also happen to feed on a number of pests, such as spruce budworm moths, tussock moths, pine bark beetle moths and gypsy moths.

Fun Bat Facts:

  • Some species of bats can live up to 40 years.
  • Many bats can see in the dark and use their extreme sense of hearing.
  • Bats are the only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
  • There are over 1,200 known species of bats.
  • The United States is home to an estimated 48 species of bats.
  • Nearly 70% of bats are insectivores.
  • One of the largest bats is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox bat weighing up to 4 lbs with a wingspan of up to 5 feet, 7 inches.
  • Bats are clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
  • North America’s largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. It is home to an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats. This colony of bats eats approximately 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of insects each night.  It is estimated 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to watch the bats leave the roost at twilight.
  • One colony of 150 Big Brown bats can protect farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
  • Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, with some already listed as endangered or threatened.
  • Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma have named the Mexican Free-Tailed bat their state bat, and Virginia has dubbed the Virginia Big-Eared bat their state bat.

One of my favorite Oregon bats is the Townsend Big Eared Bat

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Townsend Big Eared Bat – listed as a sensitive species in Oregon – photo credit: encyclopedia of Puget Sound

Townsend’s big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) are a medium-sized bat with very long ears. Their fur is pale gray or brown above and buff colored on the underside. Their wingspan is12-13 in (30-34 cm) and they weigh between 0.3-0.5 oz.  This bat’s ears are enormous, reaching a length of 38 mm. When the ears are laid back they extend to the middle of its body.  They can be found in pine forests and arid desert scrub habitats. When roosting they do not tuck themselves into cracks and crevices like many bat species do, but prefer large open areas.  They specialize in eating moths and other insects such as beetles, flies and wasps. Townsend’s big-eared bat is usually a late flier and will forage along the edge of vegetation.

Extra Fun-facts

  • When it’s roosting or hibernating, Townsend’s big-eared bat curls up its long ears so they look like rams horns.
  • When flying they can rapidly extend or contract their ears. When flying with their ears extended the ears point forward and are nearly parallel to their body.

To learn more about Oregon’s Bats go to:  living with bats

2018 Eagle Watch Art Contest Winners

Seven schools throughout Central Oregon including: Culver High, Redmond High, Mountain View High in Bend, Culver Middle School, Culver Elementary, Black Butte Elementary in Camp Sherman and one home school student participated in the 4th annual Eagle Watch Art Contest.  More than 50  Students,  9 – 17 years old,  created many beautiful works of art. We introduced a technical category this year – 11 students, both in elementary and high school designed some great power point presentations that showcased various birds of prey including vultures, eagles, falcons and owls.

Special thanks to this year’s judges – Thad FitzHenry (Portland General Electric), Jill Nishball (Oregon Parks and Recreation Department), and Stacy Lacey (United States Forest Service).  All the judges agreed that it was very difficult to choose the winners as there were so many great creations.  All submissions, including the winners, will be on display at Eagle Watch.  Winners will be recognized and awarded at Eagle Watch on Saturday, February 24th at noon.

The Eagle Watch Committee would also like to thank the schools and teachers for supporting and inspiring your students.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

3 Best In Show – Judge’s Favorites

These are based on the judges overall favorite piece(s) based on instinctive appeal, demonstration of skill and technique, degree to which it fulfills its intent and meaning beyond the image.

Redmond High - 12th - Le (1)
Redmond High School – Katie Le, 12th grade

Remond High - Capps
Redmond High School – Mckaylie Capps, 11th grade

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Redmond High School – Katy Olivera, 9th grade

 

Artwork is judged on creativity and originality of depicting the theme, unique expression of theme, craftsmanship and visual impact. (All decisions are final.)

 

Redmond High School

1st Place Mixed Media, Sara Waller, 10th grade

1st Place Colored Drawing, Madison Dove, 9th grade

 

MVHS - Weible
Mountain View High School – 1st Place Drawing Grace Weible, 9th grade

 

Culver High School – 1st Place Tech Winner – Barred Owl Power Point – Dusty Thornton

Strengths:  Nicely laid out, consistent look throughout, factual, not a lot of wording, appropriate photos, and added photo credits.

 

 

Culver Middle School

1st Place Leather Carving – Tegan Macy, 8th grade

1st Place Oil Painting – Lauren Berkey, 7th grade

1st Place Colored Drawing – Uriel Mejia, 7th grade

 

Black Butte School - 5th - Bourdage
Black Butte School – 1st Place Watercolor – Emily Bourdage, 6th grade

 

Culver Elementary – 1st Place Tech Winner – Golden Eagle Power Point – Jeyshon Cruz

Strengths:  Nice photos, consistent look throughout, easy to read, factual, included an ending slide and cited sources.  Jeyshon added a drawing to a slide and had a great conservation idea for artificial nesting.

 

Owl at Night
Home School – 1st Place Drawing – Abby Powers, 9 years old