Friday, December 31, 2010

Wish Upon A Cloud

When I wake up tomorrow; I hope to see a tree behind every tree. Like it once was in Randolph County; when it was a tolerable place to be.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roaring Creek WV and Kettle Creek PA

Roaring Creek
A few years ago, I was watching TU TV and there was a very interesting story about the Kettle Creek Watershed area.  They were discussing a passive restoration system being used to combat acid mine drainage problems in the watershed.  The work was being done on Middle Branch, a tributary of Twomile Run in northwestern Clinton County, PA.  The Kettle Creek watershed and the Roaring Creek watershed in Randolph County, WV are very similar.  They were both reasonably healthy in the headwaters and had a population of brook trout present.  Both watersheds were ravaged by abandoned mine drainage in the lower sections.
I just received the Winter issue of TROUT, the quarterly publication of Trout Unlimited. I am happy to report that after 13 years of work from dedicated volunteers that brook trout have returned the Middle Branch.  Brook Trout are once again naturally reproducing in the stream and benthic populations have increased.
Two years of preliminary data collection has been done on the Roaring Creek watershed.  The paperwork is done and now we can all hope that Roaring Creek can mirror the success of Pennsylvania's Kettle Creek.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Randolph County/Elkins Area Christmas Bird Count

ELKINS AREA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT SLATED FOR JANUARY 3, 2011




Local bird enthusiasts will take to the roads and woods during the 29th annual Elkins Area Christmas Bird Count on January 3rd, 2011. This event gives birders a chance to get together and have a good time while gathering information on bird diversity and abundance in the area. Participants will meet at 8:00 am at the Division of Natural Resources Operations Center on Ward Road in Elkins. Both novice and experienced bird watchers are invited to take part.



The Elkins area bird count is just one of hundreds of Christmas Bird Counts that occur around the country this time of year. The aim is to tally all birds observed within a 7.5 mile radius of a given point. Over time, these annual counts can reveal trends in populations of various avian species.



On the morning of January 3rd, birders will be grouped into teams of 2-3 observers, and assigned specific routes to survey. If you live in or near Elkins, you can participate by just tallying the birds in your yard by species and reporting that information.



Anyone interested in participating in this year's Christmas Bird Count should contact Jim Fregonara jimfregonara@wvdnr.gov or Craig Stihler craigstihler@wvdnr.gov or phone the WVDNR at 304-637-0245 for more information.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

West Virginia Buck Season Harvest

This is the latest report from the WVDNR:  It just shows you what happens when baiting is allowed. Mast Failure + Uncontrolled Timber Harvest + Baiting = A Massacre On The Corn Piles = OverKill.  How are they going to make money from all of the non-resident licenses now? You Reap What You Sow.

Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor


Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release: December 13, 2010

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-2003 ext. 365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov

Contact:

Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section 304-558-2771 dnr.wildlife@wv.gov





Deer Hunters in West Virginia Harvest 43,226 Bucks during the Buck Firearms Season SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Preliminary data collected from game checking stations across the state indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 43,226 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 22 through Dec. 4, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). The 2010 buck harvest was 31 percent less than the 2009 harvest of 62,986. The top ten counties for buck harvest were as follows: Preston (2,030), Randolph (1,817), Hardy (1,350), Greenbrier (1,348), Mason (1,264), Hampshire (1,261), Ritchie (1,236), Jackson (1,216), Lewis (1,141) and Wood (1,113).

This year’s buck harvest is significantly lower than last year, with declines occurring across all DNR Districts. The largest percent decreases occurred in the western and central counties of the state. The harvest was 30th among all recorded antlered buck firearm seasons. Overall, 14 counties were above or within one buck harvested per square of the harvest objective and 37 counties were one or more bucks per square mile below the harvest objective.

White-tailed deer are a product of the environment. Too many deer on a given tract of land will result in loss of body weight, reduction in antler development, decrease in reproduction and sometimes death due to starvation during winter months. The cumulative effects of too many deer over time causes a decline in herd condition, which actually reduces the deer herd’s resiliency to years of poor mast conditions and harsh winter weather. The below-average acorn crops in 2008 and 2009 (acorn mast in 2009 was the lowest in 40 years) and last year’s unusually severe winter had a significant impact on the deer population and the overall 2010 buck firearms season harvest. Fortunately, 2010 has been a banner year for mast and overall, deer are in good physical condition entering the winter months.

Wildlife Biologists will analyze data from the combined 2010 deer seasons (i.e., buck, antlerless, archery and muzzleloader) before making appropriate recommendations for next year’s deer seasons. These recommendations will be available for public review at 12 regulations meetings scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2011 (see current 2010 - 2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary page 5 or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for scheduled times and places).

Director Jezioro reminds hunters that the traditional six-day antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land ends Saturday, December 11. Muzzleloader deer season begins Dec. 13 and runs through Dec. 18. The Youth and Class Q/QQ antlerless deer season will be open on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 27 and 28 in any county with a firearms deer season, and will be followed by a three-day reopening of antlerless deer season (Dec. 29 - 31) in 46 counties or portions of counties (see 2010 - 2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for county and area listings).

[Editors: Please see attached table with West Virginia’s buck harvest statistics for 2006 – 2010.]

**DNR**

West Virginia Antlered Deer Gun Harvest, 2006-2010

County

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010



Barbour

1527

1380

1413

1307

860



Brooke

479

386

427

377

333



Hancock

447

361

357

339

302



Harrison

1810

1508

1680

1730

1054



Marion

1443

1114

1489

1183

801



Marshall

1648

1126

1339

1321

1091



Monongalia

1953

1474

1927

1536

1108



Ohio

505

438

485

412

405



Preston

2616

2309

2618

2122

2030



Taylor

903

724

808

727

498



Tucker

1020

974

951

874

747



Wetzel

1926

1767

2210

1474

944



Dist. I Subtotal

16,277

13,561

15,704

13,402

10,173



Berkeley

924

973

855

651

656



Grant

1544

1733

1531

1228

914



Hampshire

1949

2223

2153

1634

1261



Hardy

2178

2111

2046

1601

1350



Jefferson

713

657

605

461

488



Mineral

1388

1420

1383

1158

883



Morgan

845

953

806

573

485



Pendleton

1850

1698

1416

1257

884



Dist. II Subtotal

11,391

11,768

10,795

8,563

6,921



Braxton

1308

2005

1731

1891

992



Clay

399

551

540

552

355



Lewis

1778

1952

2027

2227

1141



Nicholas

991

1216

1082

1176

841



Pocahontas

1410

1277

1223

1346

1056



Randolph

1862

1968

2126

1930

1817



Upshur

1432

1517

1536

1383

1059



Webster

796

929

887

901

806



Dist. III Subtotal

9,976

11,415

11,152

11,406

8,067



Fayette

873

1101

905

896

727



Greenbrier

2143

2204

1925

1976

1348



McDowell

0

0

0

0

0



Mercer

662

820

537

604

363



Monroe

1886

2150

1431

1569

1012



Raleigh

651

842

577

706

440



Summers

944

1282

932

931

526



Wyoming

0

0

0

0

0



Dist. IV Subtotal

7,159

8,399

6,307

6,682

4,416



Boone

495

676

577

628

454



Cabell

683

947

787

695

488



Kanawha

1025

1395

1259

1257

887



Lincoln

832

1126

983

860

740



Logan

0

0

0

0

0



Mason

2067

2154

1892

2099

1264



Mingo

0

0

0

0

0



Putnam

1051

1401

1311

1065

793



Wayne

837

898

768

880

503



Dist. V Subtotal

6,990

8,597

7,577

7,484

5,129



Calhoun

1039

1163

1252

1124

565



Doddridge

1328

1227

1605

1416

765



Gilmer

1182

1401

1585

1398

670



Jackson

2122

2081

1948

2504

1216



Pleasants

588

398

630

531

351



Ritchie

2147

1564

2369

2010

1236



Roane

1691

1873

2010

2112

1066



Tyler

1429

1125

1590

1210

845



Wirt

919

1006

1186

1265

693



Wood

1877

1635

1655

1879

1113



Dist. VI Subtotal

14,322

13,473

15,830

15,449

8,520



State Total

66,115

67,213

67,365

62,986

43,226









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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ruger SR 40

I just put down a deposit for a new Ruger SR 40. I am now anxious to get the gun.  I was considering the SR 9, but wanted a little more power and all of a sudden the 40 was announced.

I will have a complete review posted here soon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hate Snow ? Something to Ponder

I already hear numerous folks are complaining about the recent snowfall.  No one is looking forward to another winter like 09-10.

I spent about seventeen years living in areas; where snow was a rarity.  Be careful what you wish for and ask yourself which is better:  Snow or forty degrees and rain from Thanksgiving til Easter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thoughts of Marcellus Shale Drilling

I was listening to Bill Stewart ramble about the makeup of the WVU football team yesterday.  He said that the team was made up, just like the state of West Virginia; on a solid foundation.  The first thing that popped into my mind was the foundation of the land that we call home.  How strong can this foundation be if it is constantly interlaced with tunnels?
Let us experiment with this foundation, we will first drill thousands of holes deep into the core of this foundation.  Then we will inject water and who knows what else into these holes.  Is that strong foundation now as strong as it once was?  I don't think so.  Do you believe for one minute second that there are not other cracks and fissures for this fracking mixture to flow into?  Think.  How about all of the underground water flows and not to mention the uncharted mine tunnels?

These methods of natural gas production were developed out West.  I am not a geologist, but I doubt the the geology of the Appalachia and Texas are the same.  I truly fear that it will take a disaster of gigantic proportions, before the dreams of money are offset by the sorrow of reality.  I also believe that the Marcellus gas fields will be another boom and bust of Appalachia's resources.  It happens time and time again: Seek, Destroy, Leave.  It isn't too bad for the ones who come in, make the money and then go home.  But, what about those of us who have to stare at the destruction for the rest of our natural lives?  Do you know what it is like to wake up and the first thing you see is orange water, clear-cuts or wind farms?

It is a hollow feeling, deep in your gut.  The feeling comes from the fact that you will never see the land and water as it once was and was meant to be.  Wake up West Virginia and the rest of the Appalachian region, before it is too late.  Damage to our region will be irreversible and beyond our imagination.  Remember also that isn't bad if you don't have to look at it for the rest of your life.  When water quality is gone: So is Life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Deer Season-So Far

Opening day was hot and bright, I started walking to my chosen stand at 5am. I arrived at the spot at 5:45, never turned on the light; the whole way in over two ridges and a dense laurel thicket.  I kept waiting for the crowd to close in on me, but it never happened.  I was the only one on the ridge.

Several deer passed by me in the darkness, as I waited for daylight to arrive.  I heard the first shot of the season at 6:15.  I believe that he was a little early, since shooting hours started at about 6:40.  At 7:05, a doe and 2 fawns ran up the ridge to me and stopped at about thirty yards on my left.  Then 2 does came from the same area, their tails were tucked between their legs and they were looking back over their shoulders.  They stopped about twenty-five yards straight in front of me.  I cocked the hammer of my T/C Encore, knowing that a buck was chasing the does.  Nothing happened, the 2 does were nervous and constantly looking back.  The buck must have chased another doe in the other direction.  That was all of the excitement for a long time.  Very little shooting was heard in the distance, at 9:30 I turned on my phone; hoping to get called to work.  At  10:05 a deer appears on my left at about fifty yards, a small deer, I didn't pay much attention to it as he fed on acorns.  He turned and started feeding downhill and I could see that it had 4 inch spikes.  I put the scope on him twice and decided not to shoot.  Nothing else happened until 12:10 when I got called to work.

Tuesday morning was still bright and I got to the oak flat stand at 5:45.  At 6:10 a big deer came through and was following along a trail with quite a few big rubs.  He never even slowed to feed, just that steady gait as he headed for his daytime laurel thicket.  At 6:20, several deer came on the flat and fed on the acorns, I believe there were 8-10 deer present; come on daylight! They feed  toward the thicket and one deer lags behind.  Light comes, one deer is left and is straight ahead at about twenty yards.  Straining to see what it is, while it is getting lighter and lighter, its the same little spike from the day before.  I let him go.  Two days in a row.  This really goes against my rule of national forest hunting, but we'll see how it works out as the season progresses.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How's You Day Going ?

I hate the two nights preceding the full moon.  I cannot sleep at all.  The night of the full moon is probably my best sleeping night of the month.  That is why I am worried about Monday morning.  The opening day of the West Virginia firearms deer season is on Monday and I'll probably oversleep.  Last night, I went to sleep at 10:30 and was wide awake at 12:45.  I messed around and renamed photo files, until I got bored with that.

Might as well go and try to find that elusive Thanksgiving gobbler.  So I take a shower and it is still 2 hours too early to head out.  Not a thing on TV.  There is a Craftman Truck race repeat, but of course I watched the end of that race, before I went to bed.  I already know what happened.  Goober head won and nobody cares anyway.  I'm not in the mood to walk around in Wal-Mart and watch the early morning dopers try to steal something.  Turn the computer back on, of course nothing is happening.  Why aren't you people on Facebook at 4 am?

Just as well head to the mountain; maybe I can get a nap in before daylight.  So I am backing into a grassy area on the side of the road and I am suddenly looking straight up at my front tires.  after somehow managing to get out of the truck: not an easy uphill battle.  I just shake my head and go on turkey hunting.  At about 7, I happen to walk underneath a trio of gobblers and I can see them sail for about a mile and go across the river.  Mess around and look for some deer sign for awhile.  Head the 1.5 miles back to the stranded truck and call a wrecker.  Fifty dollars later, it is noon and I'm back home.. Wonder how tonight will be?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Started-Fly Fishing

WHAT DO I NEED TO START


The question that I have been asked most during the previous year has been: What do I need, to start fly fishing? First, let me stress that needs and wants are two very different things. Fly fishing is one of those things that can be as simplistic or complicated as you desire. It is up to you and your budget, as to which path you decide to follow. You actually only need five things: Rod, Reel, Line, Leader and Fly.

Fly rods come in various lengths and weights. The weight (0-12) denotes the size of line that works best with the particular rod. Rod length varies between five and fourteen feet. The most popular lengths are 8-9 feet. In our area, these lengths are a fine choice. Rod action is the next consideration. The action is the amount of flex, from the butt to the tip of the rod. The terminology is usually slow to extra-fast. Choose a moderate or moderate-fast action in a six-weight rod and you will be happy. One other notable consideration is that rods come in sections with choices from two-piece up to six piece travel rods. Two piece rods are usually the least expensive. I cannot fit a two-piece nine foot rod behind my truck seat. Eight foot rods in the two-piece configuration work fine.

The fly reel is honestly, the least important item in your setup. It holds and stores the line. For the majority of our needs, the most basic reel will do just fine. We do not need fancy drag systems for the foot long fish we will be catching. Truthfully, you could feed your line out of your pants pocket and while being inconvenient, you would probably do just fine. Fly lines are available in a wide variety of designs. Buy a weight-forward floating line for your first set-up. Make sure it is the proper weight for your rod. Remember, we are discussing need, not want. Sinking tips, intermediates and other special purpose lines will fall into the want category at a later time.

The leader is the connection between your fly line and fly. They taper down from a large diameter butt section to a fine tippet section. The most popular designs are knotted together with various diameters and lengths of monofilament line and are formulated to make the fly turn over properly. Tapered knotless leaders are also available and are a good choice if weeds or floating debris is encountered. I have been using furled or braided leaders for the last few years. I really like this style. They are four to five feet long; the ones that I use have a small (micro) metal ring for attaching tippet material. This makes a versatile system that works really well.

Now, the fun stuff: Flies. The selection is mind boggling, where do we start? There are basically four types of flies: Dry, Wet, Streamer and Nymph. Dry flies float, the others are used subsurface. Dry fly fishing is the most well known method and is both rewarding and productive, when aquatic insects are hatching. I am rarely able to fish during this primetime. I fish wooly buggers upstream or Clouser minnows downstream probably 90 percent of the time. This two fly system has worked well for me.

Technical fishing without the technicality. Enjoy.

This article first appeared in my column Through the Seasons at Two Lane Livin.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thirty Years Ago

I have read several mast reports and hunting predictions about the upcoming deer firearms season.  They all come down to one thing:  Food.  Most point toward white oak acorns, as the plentiful food source for 2010.  This is great if you live somewhere in WV that still has some white oaks; standing.

I used to have one of the nicest stands of white oak in the country; just up the road.  That was thirty years ago.  It was an area which was always full of game.  Now it is a clear-cut wasteland, not fit for anything.  It will be that way till after I am dead.
It used to be nice to go out around home and be able to hunt.  The most memorable Thanksgiving Day to me was one which the meat on the table; all came from the hill that could be seen from the picture window.  There was venison, oven baked squirrel and wild turkey.  The picture window view is now an impenetrable blackberry wasteland.

The view to the north , is of the newest wind farm project.  Really attractive.  So, the next time you journey to your favorite woodlands; you should be grateful that they are still there.  If you are not careful, your cherished places could become another wasteland; just like NW Randolph County.  Always remember that what once was; can become a used to be, very quickly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

T/C Encore-Sighted In

I disassembled my T/C Encore, tightened and checked everything out.  These are the first 4 shots, after reassembly. This is the actual target at 100 yards and this was shot off of the truck hood. Nothing fancy.

I am quite pleased with this accuracy from a light-weight hunting rifle. This is a 7mm-08 Remington standard contour factory barrel and the gun wears a Burris 3x9 scope.

I have found that this particular barrel tends to open up its' groups after 3 shots.  For my intended use, one shot is all that is needed.  The ammo used was Federal Fusion 140 grain and Federal Premium 140 grain Barnes TSX.  They shoot the same in this gun.  One thing of note for T/C Encores is to make sure that the stock screw and forearm screws are tight.  You can spend allot of money for a good deer hunting rifle.  Ammo prices are outrageous, but the quality of available options has improved significantly in recent years.  Nowadays, I spend most of my money on fuel.  One shot is all that I need.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm starting to think about the upcoming deer firearms season now.  I believe that I will go out tomorrow and make sure my muzzleloader and Encore are hitting where they are supposed to.   I had some scope issues last year and had to put a new Burris 3x9 on my 7mm-08 T/C Encore, at the last minute.  I should be all right, this year.

I was smart in 2010, I bought my ammo, powder,primers and bullets in August.  That gives me one less thing to worry about; with 2 weeks left before opening day.  I have to find a new hunting area for the 2010 season.  My normal area relies on beech production and very little is present.  From what I have seen, the deer didn't do very well last winter in that particular area.  I was over there last week, for several hours and saw a grand total of 2 deer and little sign of anymore.  I get a bad feeling when I walk through the woods and no birds or chipmunks are present.

I'm looking at an area which has really good oak mast this year.  I've never deer hunted in the area before, but it looks promising.  I intend to spend some time in the area, during the next 2 weeks.  Hopefully it will be time well spent.  This may be the first year that I have hunted primarily in Randolph County; since the early eighties.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sinker Ban Sunk

For Immediate Release


Mary Jane Williamson, Communications Director

mjwilliamson@asafishing.org, 703-519-9691, x227

www.asafishing.org



Sportfishing Industry Applauds EPA’s Decision to Reject Lead Ban Petition

America’s anglers triumph over unwarranted petition to ban lead in fishing tackle



Alexandria, VA – November 4, 2010 – The sportfishing community commends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for its decision to reject a sweeping petition to ban lead in all fishing tackle. The petition, which was submitted on August 3, 2010, by the Center for Biological Diversity and four other groups, requested that EPA ban all lead in all fishing tackle on all U.S. waters. The petition also included a request to ban the use of lead ammunition in the hunting and shooting sports. That part was denied on August 27 because EPA does not have the legal authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Opposition from anglers was strong; over 43,000 anglers sent comments requesting dismissal of the petition to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson through www.KeepAmericaFishing.org™.



In dismissing the petition, EPA indicated that the “petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the TSCA.” EPA also cited state-specific actions and the increasing education and outreach activities being undertaken, stating that those actions “…call into question whether a national ban on lead in fishing gear would be the least burdensome, adequately protective approach to address the concern, as called for under TSCA.”



“The sportfishing community applauds EPA’s decision,” said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Vice President Gordon Robertson. “It represents a solid review of the biological facts, as well as the economic and social impacts that would have resulted from such a sweeping federal action. It is a common sense decision.”



Robertson further said, “Increases in the cost of recreational fishing would stop many anglers from enjoying the sport. The resultant decrease in fishing license sales and the federal manufacturers’ excise tax on fishing tackle, which represent the two most important funding sources for fisheries conservation, would be a large setback for fish and wildlife managers and this country’s natural resources.”



“The sportfishing industry is very proud of the fact that America’s anglers were united on this important issue and played a pivotal role in EPA’s decision to reject this unwarranted petition,” noted Robertson. “KeepAmericaFishing™ provides anglers an opportunity to present a strong, coherent voice so that they can express their concerns to decision makers. EPA’s dismissal is without a doubt in direct response to the facts we presented which were soundly supported by our collective comments and input.”



The sportfishing community’s objection to the ban was based on:





The data does not support a federal ban on lead sinkers used for fishing. In general, bird populations, including loons and other waterfowl species, are subject to many more substantial threats such as habitat loss through shoreline development. Any lead restrictions on fishing tackle need to be based on sound science that supports the appropriate action for a particular water body or species.

A federal ban of the use of lead in fishing tackle will have a significant negative impact on recreational anglers and fisheries resources, but a negligible impact on waterfowl populations.

Depending on the alternative metal and current prevailing raw material costs, non-lead fishing tackle products can cost from ten to twenty times more than lead products. Non-lead products may not be as available and most do not perform as well. Mandatory transitioning to non-lead fishing tackle would require significant and costly changes from both the industry and anglers.

America’s 60 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy, creating employment for over one million people.

This is not the first time that such a ban has been requested. In 1992 EPA received a similar petition to ban lead fishing tackle and in 1995 the Agency abandoned the proposed rule because there was no threat to bird populations and the economic impact was determined to be significant. In September 2010, legislation was introduced to both chambers of Congress to prevent an overarching federal ban on lead in recreational fishing tackle (S. 3850 and H.R. 6284).



“Even with this decision, ASA will continue to work with legislators and EPA to ensure that future considerations of lead fishing tackle bans are made in response to sound science, not unwarranted petitions,” concluded Robertson. “Aside from the many anglers that spoke up, many organizations and members of Congress deserve thanks for decisively voicing their opinion to EPA.”



To learn more about this issue and to support the voice of the American angler, please visit www.KeepAmericaFishing.org.



###



The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also represents the interests of America’s 60 million anglers who generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over one million people.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Indigo Bunting in Winter Plumage

Indigo Bunting 1-16-09
We often encounter interesting things; when we least expect it.  Nobody expects to find a male Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), in the middle of January.  Definitely, not in the mountains of West Virginia.

I was walking through my yard, filling up the bird feeders, the sun was high and bright.  I walked by a blue junco; several times.  It took a little while to realize that the bright sun or my eyes were not causing a color illusion.

I rushed into the house to get my brand new Nikon D60; which had never even been outside before.  I quickly took several photos, with whatever settings were on the camera at the time.  You have to understand that I never even had the battery in the new camera; before this moment.  I had yet to do anything except try to read the owners manual.

Here is the result of the first digital photo; that I have ever taken.  A once in a lifetime capture of a  male Indigo Bunting; in winter plumage.  The northernmost wintering grounds for this species is southern Florida.
This photo was taken on January 16, 2009, at Norton in Randolph County, West Virginia.

Be observant and be prepared, you never know what opportunities may arise.

Monday, November 1, 2010

POLIITICIANS

Politicians are like 2 dead flies in a bucket of water.  You swirl the bucket, dump it and one comes out.  The other one sticks to the side.  Get out and vote for the lesser of 2 evils; if you can figure out who that may be.

Wildflower of the Month/November-Witch- Hazel

Witch- Hazel
The Witch- Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a common shrub of our region.  It can be found throughout our region at all elevations. Dry soils, wet areas and everything in between; this is not a finicky plant.
The bark and leaves are astringent; the extract, also referred to as witch hazel, is used medicinally. Extracts from its bark and leaves are used in aftershave lotions and lotions for treating bruises and insect bites. Witch-hazel helps to shrink and contract blood vessels back to normal size, hence its use as the active ingredient in many hemorrhoid medications. It is also a common treatment for postnatal tearing of the perineum. The seeds contain a quantity of oil and are edible. It is also used in treating acne.

This late fall flowering shrub often goes unnoticed; until the leaves are gone.  But, makes its presence known as the yellow flowers stand out on our barren landscapes.  I have seen some ornamental varieties; with flowers of oranges and reds.  They could be something interesting in a winter themed landscape; mixed with some of the various winterberries.

During the month of November; take a drive down your favorite country road.  You will soon realize, just how common this late autumn bloomer is.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Largemouth Bass Virus

Largemouth Bass Virus Detected in Virginia Reservoirs...


No impact to people; impacts to fish normally are short lived and fish populations recover



Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) is a disease that impacts several fish species but only appears to cause death in some largemouth bass. First discovered in Florida in 1991, LMBV spread throughout the southern United States and was responsible for a number of largemouth bass deaths in the late 1990's. However, in some reservoirs LMBV only led to a decrease in survival and growth rates. When those declines occur, anglers catch fewer quality-size (greater than three pounds) largemouth bass. The good news is that impacts from the virus outbreak are normally short lived and largemouth bass fisheries recover in about three years.



The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) tested several reservoirs between 2000 and 2003 with most either having no occurrence of LMBV or very slight infection rates. However, in a few reservoirs in North Carolina almost 40% of the largemouth bass tested were positive for LMBV. One of those systems was Shearon Harris Reservoir, which continues to support one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state.



Recent virus testing coordinated by VDGIF this past August revealed that LMBV was present in about 40% of the bass tested at John H. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake and is responsible for the decline in the bass fishery. Largemouth bass from Briery Creek Lake and Sandy River Reservoir (Prince Edward County) were also tested and the virus was detected and confirmed. A small largemouth bass mortality event which occurred at Briery Creek Lake in late June, 2010, was most likely the result of LMBV in the population.



Due to the popularity of the largemouth bass fishery at Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake, anglers have expressed concerns about the LMBV spreading to other area reservoirs. However, some of the area reservoirs already contain LMBV and fish have likely built-up an immunity to the virus. For example, largemouth bass in Lake Gaston tested positive for LMBV in 2000. However, recent surveys at Lake Gaston indicate that the largemouth bass population is doing well. Nevertheless, anglers should follow the precautions listed below to limit the spread of LMBV.



FAQ:



Can we cure the disease? No, the virus will have to run its course and hopefully the fish will build up immunity to LMBV. So far, lakes affected by the disease in the southern U.S. have not experienced additional large LMBV outbreaks since the initial ones in the late 1990's.

Are there any risks to humans from the virus? No, fish are safe to eat and the water is safe for drinking water supply and recreation. This virus cannot be passed to humans.

What causes an outbreak of the virus? It is not fully understood what causes an outbreak of LMBV. It is likely that stressful conditions such as low reservoir levels, high water temperatures, or increased handling time make bass more susceptible to LMBV.

How can you tell if a largemouth bass that you've caught has the disease? There are very few external cues that the bass might have the disease. Fish that are very sick from the virus may appear bloated and swim erratically due to the impacts of the virus on the swim bladder.

How does the disease spread? Fish that come in close contact (like in a livewell) can easily infect one another. Transmission through the water and eating infected prey are also ways that the disease is spread.

What can anglers do?



Limit fishing, especially tournament fishing, to cooler months. Bass with LMBV are more likely to suffer mortality in the heat of the summer due to stress related to the high water temperatures. Paper tournaments without weigh-ins are always on option that tournaments can explore for summertime tournament fishing.

Cooling livewells with blocks of ice in summer months is highly recommended. But, do not decrease water temperature in livewells more than 20° F from reservoir water temperatures.

DO NOT transfer fish or fish parts from one body of water to another. This can spread the virus.

Land fish quickly and handle them gently to avoid exhaustion and capture stress. Return the fish quickly to the water if you do not plan to keep it.

Sterilize bilge pumps and livewells with a bleach solution to kill the virus. Studies have shown that the virus can survive in water in livewells up to seven days. About 1.5 fluid ounces of bleach added to one gallon of water (1% solution) sprayed on livewell surfaces will kill the virus. Let the bleach solution stand for 5 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and let air dry as chlorine bleach is toxic to fish.

Tournaments should adopt best handling practices at all events. Using release boats, resting stations with oxygen and/or recirculating water, and iced water are all important considerations when planning a tournament. Refer to the conservation pages of the TBF or BASS websites for more information on safe handling practices and tournament organization guidance.

For information contact:



Dan Michaelson

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Fisheries Biologist

434-392-9645

This information is from the Outdoor Report

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lead Sinker; Never Again ??

Legislation Introduced in the House to Prevent Federal Ban on Lead Tackle


On September 28, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced S. 3850 , legislation which seeks to prevent an overarching federal ban on lead in fishing tackle, a move that could have a significant economic impact on anglers and the recreational fishing industry. Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) introduced the companion bill (H.R. 6284 ) in the House of Representatives on September 29. In August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was petitioned to ban the use of lead in fishing tackle and ammunition. The EPA quickly dismissed the ammunition section of the petition, but has not yet released its decision on fishing tackle. Ammunition is exempted from EPA regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bills introduced by Lincoln and Broun will amend the TSCA so the exemption for ammunition will also apply to fishing tackle. ASA members are encouraged to write their Members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship of this important legislation. Information and a template message are available on KeepAmericaFishing.org.

Ethanol Increase Announced

EPA Announces Increase in Gasoline's Ethanol Content


On October 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a 50 percent increase in the allowable ethanol content in gasoline for automobiles built after 2006. Gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, commonly referred to as E15, could damage recreational marine engines and other small gasoline-powered engines because they are designed, calibrated, and certified to run on not more than 10 volume percent ethanol. This increase also raises issues about emissions, performance, durability and warranty coverage. In addition, increased corn production to meet the new standard could result in increases in the runoff of nutrients and other pollutants into watersheds. Any further EPA decision on the use of E15 has been delayed until testing on vehicles built before 2006 is complete.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Little Hickory Bear

The best days are days that we discover one of natures' wonders.  I never knew that bears fed in the top of hickory trees; like a giant fox squirrel.  Well, they do.  This little fellow was in a hickory in Pocahontas County, WV.  Yeah, they climb apple trees all of the time.  They bend over and trample down mountain ash, hercules' club and sumacs.  But, this one is in the top of a hilltop hickory, in a wind storm.

The next photo shows the bear, reaching out to pull a limb to its' mouth.  I saw it do this twice.  This whole series of photos is less than a minute in time.  I was hurrying, because I sensed that the show would not last much longer.

I am regretful that higher quality photos could not be had; but these are allot better than not having the opportunity at all.






After he got this last nut, he headed down the tree and was gone.



All photos published here are protected under US and International copyright laws by High Virginia Images.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Timberdoodle

I recieve an interesting publication, that many of you may not have seen.  Each issue of Timberdoodle contains articles on nature observations, weather and history of the Allegheny Highlands.  timberdoodle is the newsletter of the Friends of Canaan Valley National Refuge.  Each issue also contains the Chronicles of the Tucker County Highlands History and Education Project.  This publication is well presented and always has content which can be enjoyed by people of various interests.  To join the Friends of the 500th, you may contact them at PO BOX 422, Davis, WV  26260.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Colorful Caterpillar

Brown-Hooded Owlet
I had nearly given up looking for interesting caterpillars, for the season.  But was given a welcome gift this morning.  I have not seen this species in about five years.  I make sure and look for it, anytime that I am around members of the Aster family.
This is the Brown-hooded Owlet (Cucullia convexipennis). It feeds on members of the composite family. I never expected to find one on October 19th. This species could be the most colorful caterpillar of our region. The moth is dull brown and ugly.
I need to go out and get some better shots of this one, if the wind will stop blowing. I also just remembered that I do not have any Woolly Bear photos.
So if your looking for something to do, go out and explore your surroundings, you never know what you will find.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Did You Learn; This Week ?

Golden Stonefly
I learned that I apparently didn't know how to spell cemetery.  Cemetary looked right to me and I never thought of questioning the spelling.  I had to go back and change photo keywords and titles.  Luckily, with eBird, the process could be done with a single edit.  Still, the process of changing to the proper spelling took some time.

This just shows the need of keeping a dictionary handy for reference.  We can mess up simple things and not be aware of our mistakes.  One other important item to keep with the dictionary; for most of us, is the magnifying glass.  We also should beware of local signage, the one over on the hill from my house says cementary.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden of Eagles Calendar

Garden of Eagles 2011 Calendar Now Available




Dedicated fans of the Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden have found a unique way to show their support for Virginia's wildlife. Countless thousands have been captivated by the bald eagles at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the unprecedented chance to witness the daily lives of these amazing birds. The Eagle Cam is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC Channel 13 with support from the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB). Last year, volunteers created The Garden of Eagles, a 2010 calendar showcasing remarkable bald eagle photos taken at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. This beautiful calendar won praise from eagle lovers all across the country — and sold out three printings!



The 2011 version of the calendar is just in – and it's "bigger and better"! This 11″ x 17″, 12-month wall calendar includes 18 large color photographs and more than 35 smaller full-color photographs — photos donated by the "Eagle Paparazzi". The calendar also includes special highlight dates from the 2010 nesting season.



Proceeds from the sale of The Garden of Eagles 2011 will benefit the Wildlife Center of Virginia and will be earmarked for construction of a new permanent home for Buddy (more about Buddy here) a young eagle admitted to the WCV in 2008, which may include a web-cam , better opportunities for public visitation and appropriate room for a fully flighted bird. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries non-game fund and the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.



Order the calendar today »http://www.wildlifecenter.org/wp/2011-calendar/

High Virginia Outdoors: A Deer Fly Float Trip

High Virginia Outdoors: A Deer Fly Float Trip: "Fly Fishing - Small Stream Brook Trout The clear-cut bakes, in the afternoon sun. Jewelweed wilts. A doe arises from her bed. She is th..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Roaring Creek Project-2009

High Virginia Outdoors: Roaring Creek Project-2009: "The date is July 10, 1861.Smoke drifts across the Roaring Creek Flats of western Virginia, it hangs like fog in the valley below. ..."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

High Virginia Outdoors: INTEGRITY

High Virginia Outdoors: INTEGRITY: "Many of you have asked; why I do not submit more articles to various publications. This article may help you understand my feelings about th..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Where is High Virginia

High Virginia Outdoors: Where is High Virginia: "Many of you are wondering; where is High Virginia? High Virginia is wherever you want it to be, as long as it is in the mountains of Appala..."

High Virginia Outdoors: October Aromatherapy

High Virginia Outdoors: October Aromatherapy: "You can visualize the morning. A heavy frost has melted and each puff of breeze sets off a cascade of falling leaves. Standing on a hardwood..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Diversify

High Virginia Outdoors: Diversify: "One sure way to get the greatest pleasure from the outdoors is to diversify your interests. We tend to get stuck in the rut of doing the sa..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Migratory Visitors

High Virginia Outdoors: Migratory Visitors: "Field Sparrow The past two weeks have been good for observing birds; during their fall migration. I have seen several species, here in my ..."

Migratory Visitors

Field Sparrow
The past two weeks have been good for observing birds; during their fall migration. I have seen several species, here in my yard. As of today, I still have Ruby-throated Hummingbirds present. October 12 is the latest date that I have recorded for hummers in the past. Today is the 12th. they will not be present, much longer. Yesterday evening, I had a large flight of Chipping Sparrows, there were more than 50 individuals here feeding on weed seeds. I searched the flock, trying to find something rare. I had hoped to find Clay-colored Sparrows, Lincolns or anything else; but alas there were only a couple of Field Sparrows mixed with the flock. White-throated Sparrows are beginning to show up in the area also. I had an Ovenbird, staying here for a week. It headed further South on Saturday. Several Pine Siskins and Purple Finches made their appearance on October 4th and some have decided to hang around for awhile.

I have had a steady trickle of warblers, over the past two weeks. Black-throated Green, Blackpoll, Black and White, Tennessee, Yellow-rumped and Cape May Warblers have been present. Ruby-crowned Kinglets showed up on Saturday. For some reason, I had several Scarlet Tanagers; which I had not seen all Summer.

It is prime time to get out the binoculars and take a leisurely stroll through the countryside. Enjoy the fall colors and hopefully encounter a bird; which you have never seen before. You never know what may show up. Go out a search out that song you have never heard before; it may be something good.
A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Peterson Field Guide)
Sparrows of the United States and Canada: The Photographic Guide

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Autumn Silence

The opening day of squirrel season has arrived ; in the hills of West Virginia. Until a few years ago, this was a highly anticipated day for me. I could always be found on a hardwood ridge; twenty-two in hand and squirrels in the game bag.

Gunshots were steadily heard until Halloween. Now, the woods around home are still. Trees are gone, squirrels are gone. The hickory ridges are now covered in blackberries and saplings. Coyote heaven.
I sold my .22's in 2004, after realizing that it wasn't feasible to drive 50 miles when you only have a couple of hours to spend hunting. The rewards do not justify the time and expense involved.

I spent all morning outside and a beautiful morning it was. I never heard on shot fired from the hillsides. Areas which are still blessed to have their mast producing trees, have an abundance of foods available to the critters of the woodlands. But, when the trees are gone; so is life. From here in the orange water, clear-cut wastelands of northwest Randolph County. Enjoy your Autumn if you still can.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Butterfly of the Month/October-Eastern Comma

It wasn't easy; making a decision about October's butterfly. Cabbage Whites and Red-spotted Purples seem to be the most adbundant fliers of early October.  But, I have noticed several Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) butterflies.  These butterflies can be seen from early spring, thru October.

These are butterflies of woodland edges and moist soils.  They can usually be found near gravel road mud holes. 

A hooked, silver comma can be found in the center of the hindwing, to help in identifying this butterfly.

Eastern Comma

The Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wildflower of the Month/October-White Heath Aster

White Heath Aster
October in Appalachia is Aster month.  Members of the Aster family, dominate our landscape. We have over twenty five species, in our region.

White Heath Aster (Aster pilosus), while not being the showiest member of the family; may be the most common. It is also the longest blooming aster of our region and can be seen, during most years into November.

Asters are composites, the bloom is composed of the disc flowers, which are tubular and found in the center. The colorful ray flowers in shades of purple,pink,blue or white make up what we think is the simple flower.  White Heath Aster has several common names:  Nailrod, Steelweed and Michaelmas Daisy.  It can be found in fields, wasteplaces and roadsides and is one of the lastest available food sources for many species.

Ramp Seeds

Ramp Seeds
The Ramp is the king of spring, in the Appalachian Highlands. This member of the Allium family can be smelled from numerous towns and campsites.  But, have you ever seen the seed; from which the tasty leek is born?  This is the seed head of the Ramp (Allium tricoccum). This photo was taken in September.  The seeds will fall to the ground and sprout from the leaf litter of the forest floor and bring on a new generation of the pungent leek.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fresh Shittakes

I just went out and picked some fresh Shittakes from my white oak log. Inoculating this log; was one of the best garden projects I have done. I is really nice to have mushrooms, readily available. Especially during a dry year, when wild mushrooms are scarce.

I had Oyster Mushrooms on a yellow poplar stump. I probably got about 30 pounds of mushrooms each year, for 7-8 years from that stump. It finally disintegrated a couple of years ago.


Ma & Pa Shiitake Mushroom Log Kit with Shiitake Sampler Cookbook
10" Shiitake Mushroom Log with the Shiitake Sampler Cookbook

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

West Virginia Youth Small Game Season-October 2, 2010

West Virginia will have a special youth; Small Game Hunting Season on October 2, 2010. All youths under the age of 15, must be accompanied by a licensed adult 21 years old or older. hunters between 15 & 17 must comply with all licensing requirements. Migratory game birds may not be taken, during this one day season. Be sure to check with the WVDNR for more information.

Outer Banks Surf Fishing School

Joe Malat’s Outer Banks Surf Fishing School will offer two sessions at the Comfort Inn South in Nags Head, North Carolina. The nationally recognized school, now in its seventeenth year, features a full day of classroom instruction plus one and a half days of fishing and instructional sessions on the beaches of Cape Hatteras. School sessions are September 30 through October 3 and October 14 through 17.


Tuition is $295.00 per person and covers all classroom materials, including an autographed copy of the just released second edition of Malat’s popular book, Surf Fishing, Catching Fish From the Beach, lunch during the classroom day, an evening social, door prizes, and all bait for the fishing sessions. The school is limited to a maximum of 25 participants, and everyone receives a “goody bag” filled with product samples. School sponsors are Daiwa, Betts, Eagle Claw, Sea Striker and Phase II Lures.

School participants will learn how to catch fish in the surf through a unique blend of classroom and “on the beach” sessions, taught by Joe Malat and Mac Currin. The school is an interesting and exciting introduction to surf fishing, and an opportunity to learn tips and techniques from two experienced local pros who will show them how to catch more fish from the beach.

Fish identification, proper selection of rods, reels, and terminal tackle, fishing with lures and bait, knot tying, reading the beach, fish cleaning, casting techniques, beach driving, cast netting and much more will be covered.

“This school is geared toward beginners who want to learn the basics of surf fishing, but we cover so much information that experienced surfcasters will take away valuable information and increase their skill in the surf,” Malat said.

For additional information about Joe Malat’s Outer Banks Surf Fishing Schools visit www.joemalat.com or call Joe Malat (252) 202-4189 or Mac Currin (919) 881-0049.



16102 Lime Grove Court 941.639.8945

Punta Gorda, Florida 33955 252.202.4189

joemalat@earthlink.net www.joemalat.com

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Simple Things

We often find ourselves dreaming to pursue rare and exotic things. In reality, many of the best things are right under our noses. We rarely take the time to appreciate everyday things. As is often said, " Stop and Smell the Roses".

We are in such a rush, that we never have the time for the appreciation of nature's wonders.

I ask; what is more common than a burr plant? You cannot deny that the Common Burdock (Arctium minus) makes a pretty good picture.

You've never taken the time to notice; have you?

Migrating Warblers

Anyone, who is interested in adding birds to checklists should be outside right now. Fall migrations are well underway for many species. Numerous species of warblers can be found at this time. Each morning  brings in the possibility of new birds. I have Tennessee Warblers (Vermivora peregrina) and Black-throated Green Warblers (Dendrocia virens) in my yard this morning. You never know what you will find. I have a Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) outside in a Pokeberry tangle. This is the first Hermit Thrush that I have ever seen, on this property. Do yourself a favor and take your binoculars for a morning stroll and enjoy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Honey Mushrooms


Honey Mushroom




 The Honey Mushroom (Armillaria sp.) is a common fall mushroom. It occurs on decaying wood. This mushroom is poisonous when raw, but is edible after it has been well cooked. I believe this photo is of the Ringless Honey Mushroom (A. tabescens). Three different species are found in our area.

Before gathering any wild mushroom for consumption; make sure that you know what you are getting. The best reference that I have found, for our region is "Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians" by William C. Roody. This mushroom is a serious forest pathogen. Wood which has been permeated by the mycelium of this fungus, produce the luminescens which are known as "Foxfire".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mast Report

Chestnut Oak
Wildlife in the High Virginia's had a tough go last winter. They had almost no help from our mast producers. this was topped off with heavy, lingering snow, with an underlayer of ice.  This made it real hard for critters to survive. My personal observations have been that the turkeys, while having a tough time in the highlands, fared better than the deer. There is good news for those who survived. Food will be available for consumption during the fall and winter season.

White Oak and Chestnut Oak acorns are plentiful, Red Oak supplies are good at most locations. Scarlet Oak is spotty and I haven't found alot of Beech. Wild Black Cherry and Grapes seem to be plentiful and there are alot of Apples at several locations. Hickory dosen't appear adbundant, but most trees have nuts.

There are alot of people who's wildlife food concerns are based on the price of corn. A plentiful mast crop will make for alot of people sitting around, staring at mouldy corn-piles. Too many, have never learned to hunt natural food supplies. It is my hope that those who belong to the WV Master-Baiters Society, will have a long and boring season.
Wild Grapes
Sadly, in the area of northwestern Randolph County where I live and used to hunt; about the only oak trees left, are in people's yards and along the roadsides. The ditches are full of acorns, this will allow the groundhogs to fatten up, so that the clear-cut dwelling coyotes will have something good to eat.

Looking ahead; as I am sitting on my deer stand in the high mountains on opening day, I hope to hear little shooting from the corn-pile bottoms and once again, actually see deer in the woods.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shittake Mushrooms

It is no secret that High Virginia is dry. This dosen't make for good wild mushroom gathering conditions. I have yet to see an Oyster Mushroom. Shaggy Manes are a few weeks away, if they make an appearance. Mushroom collecting in our region was dismal at best in 2010.
I did have an ace in the hole and most importantly remembered to play it. I innoculated some white oak limbs with Shittake plug spawn a few years ago. Last weekend, I soaked one of the limbs in water for 2 days. The mushrooms should be ready by the weekend.

They will probably go well with some venison steaks.







10" Shiitake Mushroom Log with the Shiitake Sampler Cookbook

Friday, September 17, 2010

Osprey Migration

The Osprey migration is underway in High Virginia. Be sure to check out dead trees along your favorite waterways. September and late April are the most productive times to view this large bird of prey in our area.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Streams

Have you noticed that stream side parking areas are vacant ? I know you aren't thinking of fishing in September, but maybe you should. You may receive an enlightening experience.

I stopped by the local river this morning; not expecting to see much. This particular area is normally fished pretty hard and it is rare; if a fish is released to swim again. There were 7 smallmouths at the edge of a rock bar. All of them appeared to be in excess of sixteen inches.


On September 2, I stopped at a popular springtime fishing area. I never thought that this stretch of water was capable of trout survival, in the summer months. I counted eleven trout; browns, rainbows, stocked brook and one native brook trout. These were all in one stretch of water about 20 yards long. Three of the trout were actively feeding. This observation really surprised me. There were more trout present at this location than the bass, which I was expecting to find.

The low, clear waters of September allow you to see what really swims in your favorite waters. Fish tend to be concentrated and visible. A stealthy approach is required and you may be surprised at what you will find.

Get out and enjoy the September waterways, don't just sit around and let the migrating Ospreys have all of the fun.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Music Review/Jamey Johnson-Good Stuff

I spend alot of time on the road and can barely stand to listen to the radio. Senseless dribble and sugar pop country music are not appealing. Classic rock; I've heard it all, a thousand times. It seems to me that music died as we entered the 80's. During the last few decades there have been a few bright spots; very few.

I was living in Alabama in 1990; one day, I heard the tail-end of a song on 92.3 Montgomery. It took me a few more weeks to find out who it was singing "Put Some Drive In Your Country", I then bacame a fan of Travis Tritt. Mary Stuart soon followed on my short list of favorites. "This One's Gonna Hurt You" is one of my all-time favorites. I always eagerly anticipated Travis and Marty's newest releases. Until; I happened to see a video of Travis Tritt doing a song about travelling from Johnson City, TN to Richmond and they showed he and some pretty girl driving through the desert among many cacti. That was Travis' end for me.

For me, it has been pretty much a whole lot of WAYLON, with a few others thrown in. I heard "The Dollar" a few years ago and the voice caught my attention. I heard "In Color" on the radio one day and the voice caught my ear again. I bought "The Dollar" and "That Lonesome Song". I normally purchase about 2 CD's per year. "The Dollar" is good, but "That Lonesome Song" is outstanding. I have become a Jamey Johnson fan.

Most of the music that I enjoy, was available on eight-tracks. So, I usually don't get excited about the new stuff. I am eagerly awaiting the release of Jamey Johnson's "The Guitar Song" on September 14th, 2010. I'm sure that you and I will not be disappointed with this double cd. Did I mention that Jamey's cds are not the usual 30 minute rip-offs, there is some substance to them.

Do your ears a favor and get "The Guitar Song" now. You can pre-order from this page. If you like real-quality country music, you can find it, with this selection. Enjoy.




That Lonesome Song                   

Dollar

This One's Gonna Hurt You


Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions)
Live at the Ryman

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Butterfly of the Month/September-Monarch

What other butterfly could be considered for September ? The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is the logical choice. This winged wonder is highly visible, while making its way to wintering grounds in the mountains of central Mexico. This instinctive journey is one of nature's wonders. 
This  migration is amazing; because this adult butterfly has never before made this journey. This butterfly you see in September is most likely headed to the Sierra Madre Mountains, where the hibernate by the millions. In the spring, the emerging butterflies reproduce on their northward journey; replenishing the species, into southern Canada, by summers' end. Then the southerly migration begins, as autumn nears.
Most of us are familiar with the distinctive caterpillar of the milkweeds. The larvae feed, until ready to preform a J-shaped hanging quiver. This suspended caterpillar forms a chrysalis. The adult emerges from this chrysalis and the cycle is repeated.

The September Monarch is truly a winged-wonder.

Monarch Butterfly   Monarch and Milkweed Monarch Magic!: Butterfly Activities & Nature Discoveries (Williamson Kids Good Times!(Tm).)




monarch canvas prints

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken of the Woods-Tomorrows' Meal

These Chicken of the Woods mushrooms were photographed on the morning of September 1. I am going to pick them tomorrow morning Sept. 3rd. They will be simmered in garlic and olive oil and will be topped with a nice juicy Brandywine. Kind of makes you want to drool dosen't it?






The Complete Mushroom Book: Savory Recipes for Wild and Cultivated Varieties

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wildflower of the Month/September-Ironweed

September brings us the underrated Ironweed. I always look forward to their purple splender. This tall wildflower is a butterfly magnet.
The New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is common, statewide in moist bottomland fields. Tall Ironweed (Vernonia altissima) is common in moist areas west of the Alleghenies. One other ironweed can be found east of the mountains. The Broad-leaved Ironweed (Vernonia glauca); though rare, may be found in some locations to the East.
The purple flowers of these species are a host of numerous butterfly, moth,wasps, bees, flies, bugs and other insects. A pure field of Ironweed in the perfect light is a sight to see.

Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) is the common yellow flower of roadsides and fields. This tall yellow flower; while is by no means  spectacular or rare, is an important host for many species.

While on your travels through the fields and forests of September, do not forget to observe the weeds. You never know what you will find there.



The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: Western Region

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers--E: Eastern Region - Revised Edition