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1 January 2019
New year’s day is the time I tally up and report the bird species seen in my yard on the forested slope of Massanutten Mountain in Shenandoah County, Virginia. This is my seventh such annual list. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) 2017 (56 species) It’s been a good year. Two new “seen for the first …
26 March 2018
A solo hike in search of anticlines yields new outcrops and good views!
23 January 2018
On a family hike, Callan’s son finds some interesting smooth lines on a rock. What are they? What do they tell us? Tune in for a brief history of Appalachian geology.
1 January 2018
New year’s day is the time I tally up my accumulated bird species seen in my yard on the forested slope of Massanutten Mountain. This is my sixth such annual list. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) Here we go, in chronological order of first appearance in our yard: Red-tailed hawk Red-bellied woodpecker Mourning dove Raven …
2 May 2017
It’s getting green outside – what’s it mean for the planet? Find out in this blog post contemplating the relationship between spring leaves and atmospheric CO2.
3 April 2017
Owls are nocturnal birds of prey that eat rodents and grasshoppers, digest the good stuff, and cough up the rest in compressed “pellets” of fur, bone, and chitinous exoskeleton. I found an owl pellet in my yard a few weeks ago, and imaged it using my GIGAmacro Magnify2. I rotated it around to get multiple views, as seen here. I’ve got both Flash and non-Flash versions of the GigaPan embed …
31 December 2016
Eastern bluebird (and its lunch, a camel cricket) Purple finch (male) At New Year’s, I post my “yard list” here. It’s a list of all the bird species observed in my yard in Fort Valley, Virginia, over the course of the previous calendar year. I have been posting this list every year since I moved here: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) Yellow-billed cuckoo …
24 December 2016
It’s bonfire season here in the Fort Valley. I live in a forest, and that forest is full of dead and downed wood. Motivated by a desire to (a) reduce forest fire risk and (b) clear out some of the area under the trees for unobstructed recreation, I gather it up and periodically burn it off in batches. We time these blazes to the weather – before or after after …
28 November 2016
Here’s a look at some of the wild critters that have been visiting my yard this year: The video’s organized in alphabetical order, so it starts with bears, and ends with a walking stick insect. See how many you can identify! Plus, here’s a compilation of 125 still photos of black bears from June of 2015:
16 May 2016
Over the weekend, my wife and I took a walk with our son at the Storybrook Trail, an accessible trail with a fine overlook to the east over the Page Valley. There, the Massanutten Sandstone shows a bunch of big beefy trace fossils at this site: both bedding-parallel (Arthophycus-like) and bedding-perpendicular (Skolithos-like) traces. Here’s Bax on a photogenic slab of the quartz arenite, showing the inch-wide bioturbation: A short distance …