Back in the saddle

I have had, since 2004, one of the best gigs any bird nerd could ask for. That was when I was awarded my first Forest Service (FS) bird survey contract for three districts in the Pisgah National Forest. To say I didn’t know what I was getting into would be a great...

Testing the early spring winds

I had the great pleasure of leading an early spring birding trip for Alarka Expeditions this past weekend – April 21 and 22. Alarka Expeditions is a brand new eco tour/environmental education enterprise based in Cowee, North Carolina adjacent to the Nantahala National...

Puc Puggy’s digs

One of Western North Carolina’s most celebrated visitors acquired his love of - and curiosity about - nature at his father’s side along the Schuylkill River just outside of Philadelphia in the late 1700s. William Bartram was born in 1739 (along with twin sister...

Spring has sprung

It doesn’t take a calendar to know spring is here. Spring is surely in the air but it’s also in the trees; it’s clawing through the dirt; it’s singing from vernal pools, streams and lakes; it’s even in the heavens. Orion is chasing Taurus out of sight as we turn away...
A long time coming

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...

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Stay calm and creep on

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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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MOU – MIA

Issues surrounding the management of the country’s national forests have always been thorny. It’s easy to see why – there are numerous user groups that, on the face, often appear to be at odds regarding how national forests should be managed. The USDA Forest Service...

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