Shenandoah Valley
From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: A spring hike 

With my brother’s bringing some sunny, springlike days with him on a visit earlier this month, hikes in Shenandoah National Park seemed in order. We first took a walk on the short Jordan River Trail, which climbs up a lovely wooded slope near Flint Hill. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: Young critters everywhere

The lower ponds are now coming alive with frog calls and the upper pond is now black with squiggling tadpoles. And those aren’t the only evidence of spring’s wildlife reproduction cycle being well underway. […]

The brightly colored Zebra Swallowtail butterfly depends on Paw Paw trees as a host for its larva, but the adults get nutrients from the nectar of several flowering forest plants as well as other sources of nutrients.
Hiking

Wild Ideas: Clouds of beauty in unexpected places

Last week, to see how spring was progressing in the lower elevations of Shenandoah National Park, I loaded my dog into the car and headed up the hollow to Thornton River Trail, one of my favorite local spots for an easy but beautiful stroll through nature. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: The precarious existence of bluebirds

Although bluebirds will nest in tree cavities up to 50 feet off the ground, they prefer to be closer to the insect prey they hunt for on the ground. Their propensity for picking such low nesting sites enables easy predator access. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: Virginia’s feisty little fish

The two lower ponds on the property are loaded with fish – mostly stocked non-natives, including some good-sized bass. There are also lots of one of my favorite Virginia natives, Bluegill, also known as Sunfish, Bluegill Sunfish, Bream, Brim, Bluegulli or Copper Nose. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: Sources for native plants

By February, even in Virginia’s relatively mild climate, gardeners with cabin fever start looking forward eagerly to the arrival of seed and nursery catalogs to start planning their gardening projects. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: Romance is in the (winter) air

Animals have developed diverse reproductive strategies to ensure their young are born when food, shelter, weather conditions and other external factors favor their offspring’s survival. In Virginia’s temperate climate, most species are geared to reproducing in the spring. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: Winter settles in?

This time of year, as winter settles in, nature can seem quiet, even boring. Most plants have shed their leaves and gone dormant and much of the fauna have migrated south or hunkered down for a long winter’s nap. […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: The romance of cloudspotting

“Clouds are Nature’s poetry spoken in a whisper in the rarefied air between crest and crag….Nothing in nature rivals their variety and drama; nothing matches their sublime, ephemeral beauty. “ —Gavin Pretor-Pinney in “The Cloudspotter’s […]