Flight School

The 2015 class of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) naval aviators started flight school this week! I’ve been watching these youngsters on daily dog-walks in the park since early May. When they first showed up I noticed the their resemblance, in size and coloration, to the yellow puffball flowers of the American sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) towering […]

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Summer Soundtrack

One of my favorite things about summer is the free outdoor concerts. I’m not talking about local bands that occasionally perform from the park gazebo even though they can be a pleasant accompaniment to my evening dog walk. No, nothing says summer like the insect-amphibian jam sessions that take place almost every evening. I’ve moved […]

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Comeback

Heat and Humidity have resumed their annual one-upmanship contest here in Arch City. Being outdoors mid-day can be unpleasant, so my canine companion and I have been trying to beat them to the starting blocks by heading out for our daily constitutional as early as possible.     Westroll two blocks, past grand Italianate manors […]

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Free-tailed funnel cloud (reprint from June 2011)

When Doppler radar first arrived in the area known affectionately to Texans as the Hill Country, the local television station meteorologists were understandably eager to show off the weather forecasting capabilities of their newest toy. Unfortunately, they got off to a less than impressive start. Night after night that summer, evening thunderstorms were forecast but […]

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Meow mix-up

Because the semester was winding down, I wasn’t all that surprised to hear a soft, kittenish mewing coming from the small wedge of remnant wooded habitat between my apartment parking lot and the highway. I used to live in a complex near the Virginia Tech campus and, sadly, it’s common for a new crop of […]

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Sunspots

There’s been a marked decline in the number of sunspots over the past decade or so. That’s what NASA scientists say, and I have no reason to doubt their research findings. Luckily, I haven’t observed any reduction in the terrestrial version of this phenomenon. Hardly a day has passed lately when I’ve not been blinded […]

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Goodness knows

Kindergarteners swarmed around the khaki-clad naturalist, squealing with excitement, shouting out questions and jockeying for a better view.The adult volunteers on this field trip were a tougher audience. “I’m glad they’re having fun but I don’t see why anyone should care about some bug,” one 30-something mom confided to another, adding, “What good is it, […]

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Headbanger

Rushing out the door, I went over the list in my head. Workout pants and layered tees—check. Running shoes—check. Coat, hat, gloves—check. Keys and sunglasses—check. MP3 player—check. Everything was in order as I pulled out of the driveway. Or so I thought. Fifteen minutes later I pulled into a parking space at thePower Valley Conservation […]

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