Creep on
Nov23

Creep on

It’s been about a month since my family and I enjoyed our assault on Whitetop. Okay, so in reality, it’s more like a jaunt from Whitetop. It’s still a 17-mile bike ride. Okay, okay, it’s a 17-mile bike cruise, downhill. The greatest exercise you will get will be in your fingers as you continuously apply the brakes to slow your descent. But it is a gorgeous ride and I think most shuttles/bike rentals provide big cushy seats (I know...

Read More
Welcome Home
Nov10

Welcome Home

The lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, once ranged across North America from the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay drainages down the Mississippi to Louisiana and from the east coast to Wisconsin. But this prehistoric creature (sturgeons date back 135 million years) has had a tough go of it for the last 100 years or so. The dam building craze of the 20th Century often blocked access to the sturgeons’ natal (river or area where they...

Read More
You’re going the wrong way – not
Oct12

You’re going the wrong way – not

When you’re out chasing fall migrants and you either have a good internal compass or you’re somewhere it’s pretty easy to orient yourself to the cardinal directions, like the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s not unusual to find mixed flocks of migrants moving in what appears, intuitively, to be a “wrong” direction. You may find groups of birds moving north, or east, or west rather than the general southwest route we expect here in the...

Read More
Big and wild
Sep28

Big and wild

Big and wild can’t be big and wild if your mind and heart are small. A “real” public meeting –as in announced and on the docket – took place in Asheville on September 20 as Buncombe County Commissioners listened to pros and cons regarding the proposed Craggies Wilderness Area and Big Ivy. The result was a resounding success for the local “Friends of Big Ivy” group and a diverse assemblage of environmental groups and local citizens who...

Read More
Must have been an omen
Sep14

Must have been an omen

When I checked my email Friday morning (9/9) I had a message from Chris Kelly, mountain wildlife diversity biologist with North Carolina Natural Resources Commission. Kelly helps coordinate an annual nightjar (birds of the family Caprimulgidae like Chuck-will’s-widow and whip-poor-will) survey across the mountains of North Carolina for the national Nightjar Survey Network. The email was an update for those who volunteer for the...

Read More
Can’t see the forest for the webs
Aug31

Can’t see the forest for the webs

From what I gather from Facebook and overhear in the checkout line the view I encounter every morning on my daily trip from Balsam Gap to Tuscola High School is pretty much standard across Western North Carolina and, according to a Google search across much of the country – places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, and others. That view is one of roadside trees full of what looks like dirty gray-brown plastic bags. Be it...

Read More