Island Time, January 17-20: Who’s There?
January 17, 2019
One day last year, naturalist Gus Ben David dropped by the Gazette office with an owlet in a pink plastic tub. It was a three-week-old great horned owl that had fallen out of a nest. Gus was charged with caring for it until it reached 16 weeks of age and could be released back into the wild.
We, all of us — in the newsroom and from all corners of the building — were smitten, gathering round Gus and the owlet, who was completely relaxed. Eventually the party ended; it was lunchtime and great horned owlets need to eat 12 to 15 mice a day to reach their mature height of two feet with a wingspan of four to four and a half feet. We went back to our microwaved soup and cold coffee.
Owls are generally nocturnal, but one exception is the diurnal snowy owl, a magical creature that is also the heaviest North American owl. Spotting a snowy in the wild (some years as many as two dozen may overwinter on the Island) is exciting. But we are advised to keep our distance to allow them to conserve energy for hunting.
A better way to encounter an owl is a visit to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary this weekend. Even hearing an owl hoot on a moonlit night can give you goosebumps, and who knows what you’ll encounter on the Big Moon Owl Prowl, starting at 6:30 p.m.
And while the moon will be bright on Saturday night, the big event—a lunar eclipse, in conjunction with the Blood Wolf super moon—happens Sunday night, or rather Monday morning at 12:16 a.m. If the skies are clear (a little weather is headed our way), begin viewing any time after 10 p.m. on Sunday evening to catch the changing skyscape.
Friday, January 18 | Remembering
The First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven is the place to be tonight, first for a pulled pork dinner (with all the fixin’s) at 5 p.m., and later for a concert by world-renowned jazz and gospel pianist Geoffrey Hicks, in celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 7:30 p.m. The Hebrew Center, in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard chapter of the NAACP, will also hold a special service to remember Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel at 5:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Minister for Ecological Justice at Boston Bethel AME Church.
Saturday, January 19 | On Safari
Top of our list today is the Winter Beach Safari over on Chappy. The Trustees will take us on an oversand adventure to explore the winter landscape of Norton Point, Wasque and Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge. Safaris leave at 9:30 a.m. and noon. Call ahead for reservations. If you’d rather get your adventure from the comfort of a library chair with a cup of chowder in hand, visit the Chilmark Library today at noon for Chowder and a Chat. Today’s special guests are the folks stationed at USCG Menemsha.
At 1 p.m., supporters of women’s rights will gather at Five Corners for the annual Women’s March. Tonight the P.A. Club holds a dinner and silent auction at 5 p.m. to benefit Second Chance Animal Rescue. Enjoy Shakespeare for the Massestonight at the M.V. Playhouse with a lively (and much shortened) version of Richard III. And Stand Up Comedy night is back at Barn, Bowl, & Bistro tonight from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, January 20 | Remains of the Day
Sticking with our plan to get outside and enjoy as much Vineyard nature as we can this winter, we’re going to join The Trustees’ winter walk to the old brick yard in Menemsha Hills today at 1 p.m. Every year this exploration of the old Chilmark Brick and Tile Factory is one of the most popular winter walks as it provides a window into a once flourishing Island industry. Shakespeare for the Masses is on again today at 2 p.m. And tonight we’re going to the Film Center to see If Beale Street Could Talk at 7:30 p.m.
Top photo by Tim Johnson; photos middle and left by Mark Alan Lovewell.