Is spring springing earlier?
Feb15

Is spring springing earlier?

Back in January I surveyed the Tellico Fire with MountainTrue biologist Josh Kelly. We were there to check out the intensity and severity of the fire. The date was January 19 and we found a few Hepatica acutiloba (sharp-lobed hepatica) in flower. Kelly said that was the earliest he had ever seen it in flower. Today, taxiing kids to and from school, I noticed a large maple in full flower around Exit 98 on US 23/74. And then, paying a...

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Twice threatened
Feb01

Twice threatened

In the land of the noonday sun, there lives a noonday snail. The noonday globe snail, Petera clarkia Nantahala is a medium-sized snail, about 3/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch high. This little slimeball is known only from about two miles of high calcareous cliffs in the Nantahala Gorge in Western North Carolina. It is a denizen of the damp, living on wet cliffs intersected by small streams and waterfalls. No nouveau snail, the noonday globe...

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The probably not so –  Big Year
Jan19

The probably not so – Big Year

The 2011 movie “The Big Year” – a comedy starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson – didn’t ruffle a lot of feathers. According to Wikipedia, the movie with its $41 million budget only grossed $7.4 million. But the Cornell Lab of Ornithology reviewed the movie shortly after it opened and found, “…This film is an enjoyable tramp through America’s wilds and through the familial tangles of its three main characters. Peppered with...

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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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