Displaying items by tag: naturalist's corner

out natcornEvery year as summer approaches and the days begin to heat up, I marvel at the beautiful orange explosion that protrudes from an unkempt patch of daylilies and Queen Anne’s lace that was once (BC – before children) a more kempt flowerbed.

out natcornThe folks in the mountains of Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee share more than a common boundary, they share a deep appreciation for the wild, sometimes rugged, but always beautiful landscape they call home. 

out natcornConscientious, detailed vacation planning; anticipating the “what ifs” and having contingency plans; route planning and hashing out all the logistics can surely make that extended vacation a lot smoother and more relaxing. But sometimes that out of the blue, spur-of-the-moment retreat can be just what the doctor ordered.

out natcornAs we turn to bask in the full glow of the summer sun, mornings begin to heat up quickly. As they heat, they become quieter. 

out natcornLast week, we set the stage for the 29th annual Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition (GSMBE). The group starts at 9 a.m. at George and Elizabeth Ellison’s office/studio in downtown Bryson City. I know, birders out there are rolling their eyes — to start a count at 9 a.m. is like missing half the day, but there are caveats.

out natcornWhat could be more fun than a weekend of fellowship and great birding? Maybe setting a new record for total number of species recorded during the annual Great Smoky Mountains Birding Expedition? 

Water cents

What falls freely from the sky, rumbles, swooshes, rolls, trickles across the planet; seeps into the earth beneath our feet yet is more valuable than “Texas T,” that foul smelling icky crude that companies spend billions to produce, only to sell for mega-billions?

out naturalistWe’ve had a good run in the watershed. The Town of Waynesville has sponsored spring and fall guided hikes in its 8,000-plus acre watershed since 2007. The hikes provide a great way for residents and other interested parties to see this wonderful resource that has been placed in a conservation easement to insure the town has an ample supply of high-quality drinking water for generations to come.


out natcornThe blue-headed vireo sang to me of spring sometime around the first week of April. Blue-headeds are generally the last “non-resident” songbird we hear in the fall (sometimes into November) and the first we hear in the spring — probably due to the fact that many overwinter in the warmer climes of the Southeast.

Earth Day rant

out natcornEarth Day 2013 is Monday, April 22. The first official “Earth Day” occurred in 1970 and environmentalists celebrated. Environmental lawyer Chuck Dayton, who splits his time between Waynesville and the “Land of a Thousand Lakes,” pretty much summed up where we are at Earth Day, when he wrote about the 40th anniversary:

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The Naturalist's Corner

  • Fingers still crossed
    Fingers still crossed Status of the Lake Junaluska eagles remains a mystery, but I still have my fingers crossed for a successful nesting venture. There was some disturbance near the nest a week or so ago — tree trimming on adjacent property — and for a day or…

Back Then with George Ellison

  • The woodcock — secretive, rotund and acrobatic
    The woodcock — secretive, rotund and acrobatic While walking stream banks or low-lying wetlands, you have perhaps had the memorable experience of flushing a woodcock — that secretive, rotund, popeyed, little bird with an exceedingly long down-pointing bill that explodes from underfoot and zigzags away on whistling wings and just barely managing…
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