It seems like the golden-winged warbler (GWWA) has become the non-game poster bird for everything from clearcuts to shelterwood cuts to overstory removal to seed tree harvests in our national forests. The philosophy appears to be “if you build it they will come,” see —www.srs.fs.usda.gov/compass/2014/07/03/young-forests-can-benefit-wildlife/.
Yogi Berra said it best — “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” When I read Holly Kays’ Nov. 12 article about the USDA Forest Service’s Plan Revision in The Smoky Mountain News (www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/14637), I was taken back to the early 2000s, when I was a fulltime reporter at SMN covering meetings regarding President Clinton’s Roadless Initiative. People, groups and/or organizations had staked out positions either in opposition to or in support of the initiative and were pretty intractable.
I was fortunate to be able to spend a few hours last Saturday morning (Nov. 23) with members of the Carolina Field Birders on one of their trips around Lake Junaluska. It was still a bit chilly around 9 a.m. when we were to meet at the swimming pool area. But the wind wasn’t blowing and the sun had a nice warm feeling to it. Plus we could see a few interesting birds from our vantage point. Nothing warms birders up in the wintertime like seeing birds.
The full Hunter’s Moon is waning and the night sky will be revealing more of her secrets till we spin around and catch December’s Long Night Moon. Around the world it’s getting harder and harder to see those dark sky secrets because of the pernicious and seemingly ever-growing light pollution.
This region has been furnishing the eastern United States with quantities of various evergreen materials (trees, running ground cedar, mistletoe, galax, and so on) for well over a century. Of these, one of the most interesting is American holly. In many ways, the plant’s dark green leaves and scarlet berries signify the season almost as much as the Christmas tree itself.
Monarch butterflies, like orange autumn leaves filling the skies, have been winging it to Mexico for the last month or so. Peak migration for the mountains of Western North Carolina is from mid- to late September through early to mid-October.
Color is starting to spill down the mountainsides once again. I recently received an email from a reader asking about the different fall colors and directions for some good viewing so I thought I would pull that information together from some past columns for a little refresher.
I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop at Wolf Mountain Overlook (Milepost 424) to check out the Grass of Parnassus, I believe to be Parnassia asarifolia.
At last! I finally had a birding outing planned last Saturday – the first one since April when I helped lead a trip for the Wildflower Pilgrimage. But, the primary guiding force of my life happens to be Murphy’s Law.
“As I traveled on, the air was literally filled with pigeons. The light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses. Before sunset I reached Louisville, Kentucky. The pigeons passed in undiminished number, and continued to do so for three days in succession.