Swimming with mermaids
Jan03

Swimming with mermaids

Christopher Columbus had a lot of misconceptions about where he wound up in 1492 and what he saw. Mermaids were listed in one of his journal accounts. But to Chris’ credit mermaids had been around in literature basically since the beginning of literature. The name Sirenia (the order manatees are found in) is in reference to the “sirens” of Greek Mythology. I guess being on a boat in the ocean for a long time can play tricks with your...

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A long time coming
Dec06

A long time coming

Some time around mid-September I added tic number 207 to my 2017 bird list. It was a merlin I saw one afternoon along the Blue Ridge Parkway while I was watching migrating broad-winged hawks. Then – nothing; nothing for a long time. Not that there weren’t some great birds around like stilt sandpiper, white-rumped sandpiper red-necked phalarope and others at Hooper Lane in Henderson County after some of the early autumn rains. There...

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Stay calm and creep on
Oct25

Stay calm and creep on

Two years in a row – for this Hendershot family that’s like a tradition. We pedaled the Virginia Creeper Trail again this year for my bride’s birthday. We did it last year and you can read about it here: http://www.smokymountainnews.com/archives/item/18877-creep-on. The Creeper trail is cool. It’s 34 miles long and runs – top to bottom – from just inside North Carolina near Whitetop Station to Abingdon, Va. It follows the bed of the...

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All’s well that ends with an elk
Oct11

All’s well that ends with an elk

I had the pleasure of leading a birding trip for Alarka Expeditions on Friday September 29. I had been in the field the previous two weeks and migration seemed to be going strong, so I was expecting a pretty birdy outing. And things started well. We ran into a number of palm warblers almost immediately at our first stop – Kituwah. We also encountered song sparrows, field sparrows, eastern towhee, goldfinches, eastern phoebe and a few...

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A total eclipse of science
Aug30

A total eclipse of science

Two independent natural phenomena have occurred over the past few days that will be etched in the memories, minds and hearts of people across the country and around the world. A total solar eclipse sailed out of the Pacific Ocean and started its trek above terra firma around Lincoln Beach, Oregon about 9 a.m. PDT on August 21. The eclipse was visible across parts of 14 states leaving terra firma for the Atlantic Ocean over Cape Romain...

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Beach bump
Aug16

Beach bump

Friends and followers of “The Naturalist’s Corner” know I’m keeping a year-list of birds I see/hear this year. As I wrote in an earlier column, “I was just curious about how many different species of birds I normally run into throughout the year.” And I have a great core of birding activities that provide a good nucleus for a list including Christmas Bird Count, George Ellison’s Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition, my annual...

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