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 […]

From the Rappahannock News

Wild Ideas: The grapes of repast

Winter keeps coming in fits and starts, and our migratory birds here in the Blue Ridge seem in no rush to keep moving south. Some of these lagging migrants have been taking advantage of a […]

PATIENCE: A large argiope spider, Argiope aurantia, lies in her web waiting for prey along Currituck Sound on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Photo by Pam Owen.

Wild Ideas: Different day, different web

The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web. – Edwin Way Teale, American naturalist, photographer, and writer Spiders are arthropods in the arachnid (Arachnida) class, […]

SWAMP SMART: The swamp sparrow (Melospiza Georgiana), as its name implies, lives in wetland areas. Photo by Kevinbercaw via Wikimedia Commons.

Wild Ideas: Misadventures in birding

Birding is for the birds – and birders. This time of year is one of the best bird-watching (“birding”) seasons, as migratory species stopover in Virginia on their way north or stay to breed and raise their young. […]

Wild Ideas

Wild Ideas: Name that tune

The vernal equinox did not disappoint in officially kicking off spring this year. I woke that fine day to the welcome if monotonous sound of my eastern phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) signaling their return — at least this is probably the same pair as last year, since they’re loyal to their nesting sites. […]


Wild Ideas: Tracking more than footprints

When I was a kid, I fancied myself to be a great tracker. When I was roaming the forests and meadows near my suburban home, I imagined I was a Native American, since we kids learned from Westerns that they were the best trackers. The goal was to find and observe animals, and ultimately to become part of their world. […]


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 of its behavior and annoyed at its skillful thievery. Not only have we captured and kept them as pets, we’ve hunted them for their fur and meat, and for sport, and we’ve waged war against them because they eat our food, invade our homes, and share our susceptibility to rabies. […]