Welcome to the first day of winter
Dec22

Welcome to the first day of winter

Your Cold Side Time to make tracks In winter’s first snow. Breathe in the first blast Of winter’s cold. Touch winter As winter touches you. It is your cold side. Your side Of short days and long nights.   And welcome to the shortest day and longest night of the year. There will be approximately 9.5 hours of daylight today (Dec. 21) and 14.5 hours of darkness. The good news – tomorrow the days will begin getting longer. And...

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Granddaddy of ‘em all
Dec07

Granddaddy of ‘em all

This year will mark the 117th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC.) The CBC is the longest-lived and largest citizen-science project in the world. The count began in 1900. It was the brainchild of Frank Chapman one of the officers of the fledgling Audubon Society. Chapman created the “bird census” as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side-hunt,” a contest where groups would shoulder their arms and hit the fields and/or...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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