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Wild Ideas: Quacking frogs get a jump on spring

Even as a kid, I was an avid frog watcher. Even before the Spring Peepers’ chorus heralded the arrival of spring, I’d pull on my boots and go to still-icy pools to listen for the sound of Lithobates sylvaticus, the…
Wild Ideas: The tactile masked bandit

The North American Raccoon (Procyon lotor) is smart, curious, bold, omnivorous, and opportunistic -- like a small bear in a mask. Our relationship with them has been a conflicted one. We’ve been captivated by the raccoon’s antics, confounded by some…
Wild Ideas: An old friend, back in the twilight

A recent question about the name of my company, Nighthawk Communications, brought to mind hot summer nights in Wyoming and one warm, damp spring evening here in Rappahannock County. That evening in Rappahannock, as I was walking my dog through…
Wild Ideas: For memories, nothing eclipses a full moon

I’m not one to sit out in the cold, especially at night, but I made an exception for last month’s lunar eclipse. The last time the lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice, in 1648, Gallileo “was languishing under house…
Wild Ideas: Things that go screech . . .

I’m really not a winter person. As the days get shorter, the nights longer, and the temperature drops, all I want to do is hibernate. I like to be lulled to sleep by a full chorus of cicadas, crickets, tree…
Wild Ideas: Green treasures on the winter forest floor

As the leaves have fallen off, the green wall of oak-hickory forest behind my house has given way to glimpses of mountains and valleys to the south and west. With the lush green of summer and the brilliant fall colors…
Wild Ideas: A rafter of turkeys

Say “turkey” and most people conjure up the image of the cooked bird that graces holiday tables. Others think of the magnificent fowl roaming our forests. A rafter of wild turkeys regularly forages through the woods around my house. Nope,…
Wild Ideas: A mouse in the house

It’s that time of year. The days are getting shorter and colder, and in the face of oncoming winter, most of us start thinking about being warm in our abodes with plenty of food at hand. We’re not alone in…
Wild Ideas: Life on the deck

When you live in a rural county in Virginia, you don’t have to go far to see wildlife. The numerous critters on my back deck and within view in the forest beyond have offered me endless hours of wildlife viewing…
Wild Ideas: The sky is falling

Except for poison ivy, thorny vines and the occasional venomous rattlesnake, the Virginia Piedmont forest is usually not too hazardous. This autumn, however, danger has been raining down from above. The instigators are trees, releasing acorns and nuts — a…