CBC double-dipping

out natcornThey say great minds think alike, and who am I to argue with “They?” The Franklin Bird Club and Carolina Field Birders (CFB) each schedule their annual CBC (Christmas Bird Count) for the last available weekend in Audubon’s count window. They do so for the same reason — both counts are relative newcomers to North Carolina’s organized CBCs and both groups have participants already committed to longer-running CBCs in the area.

out natcornI think Lewis Carroll could have just as easily warned of the Timberdoodle as the Jubjub bird in the “Jabberwocky,” both could appear to be nonsensical avian entities. The timberdoodle, a.k.a. American woodcock, appears to be constructed from incongruous leftover avian parts.

out naturalistFlying around Facebook pages (after all this is the age of information) is, apparently, a poll or online survey declaring that Macon County doesn’t want anymore wilderness. According to this online scientific survey, Macon County is adamantly opposed to adding anymore wilderness to the national forest in Macon County. The graphic I saw had 60 percent of respondents saying “… leave Macon County as is .…”

Half a hunert

out naturalistThere’s nothing I like better than mixing pleasure with pleasure. 

Last weekend, I got to spend three wonderful nights in a 12-by-24-foot cabin on the banks of the Ouachita River in northeast Louisiana near where I grew up. The cabin is a joint venture between one dear old friend I reconnected with a few years back and one dear new friend that I met a few years back.

Fight the good fight

out natcorn"It’s like déjà vu all over again." —Yogi Berra (RIP)

Maybe some of you who, like me, are getting longer in the tooth are guilty of letting our guard down, of thinking old battles had been won and that today’s and tomorrow’s environmental (social too, but that’s a different column) issues had become arguments of degree not kind. But a quick look around shows that’s not the case.

out natcornAccording to Steve Ford, in a piece for NC Policy Watch called “Policies, power, pride divide the NC House and Senate” (7/13/2015), the state’s current Republican senators were a bit disappointed that some of their regulatory “reforms” were causing controversy and being stalled due to environmental concerns.

Peak peeking

out natcornThe deluge we slogged through a couple of weeks ago certainly didn’t help this fall’s color palette. But not to worry, there’s still plenty to see. I made a short trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway from U.S. 23/74 to Richland Balsam to see what was happening — and it’s happening. Looks to me like this weekend will likely be peak for elevations between 3,500 feet and 4,500 feet. There is already a lot of steel grey above that, but it’s the middle of October.

Horny hickory devil

out natcornOK, OK, you can bring the kids back into the room, we’re not talking that kinda horny here. The hickory horned devil is the largest caterpillar in North America. It is the larval stage of the regal moth, Citheronia regalis, and in its last instar or molt before pupating it can grow to between five and six inches long. That is five to six inches long and 3/8-inch in diameter of mean, green dangerous caterpillar-looking machine.

End of the bloody tetrad

out natcornAll the lunar-phobes out there, as well as many of the astronomically challenged – like me, will be praying for clear skies for the night and pre dawn hours on Sept. 27-28. The total eclipse of September’s Harvest Moon (so called in the Northern Hemisphere because it is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox) will bring an end to this latest — gasp — lunar tetrad.

Of bears and bees

out natcornI am not nearly so frustrated with my black oil sunflower seed-addicted bruin neighbor as I was after his little escapade last Friday morning around 2 a.m. I was trying to finish some writing before I left for my pre-dawn “day job” when I heard some noise on the deck. I had chased a raccoon away the night before and figured it was back. But the noise had a little more substance to it. Bear, I thought.

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