Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Butterfly of the Month/ September

The Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)
I sat for about an hour today on the edge of a wildflower meadow. I was looking for a subject for the September butterfly. There wasn't much happening; so here it is. The Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) is a very common butterfly of open areas. This species has multiple broods and can be encountered from late-April until mid-October.

The caterpillar host plant is the many species of Aster. The Pearl Crescent can be found statewide; wherever Asters grow.

Posted by High Virginia Outdoors

Photos by High Virginia Images (C) 2011 All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Little Hope

I was beginning to believe that there was little hope for any Monarch reproduction; this year. But; today I found several caterpillars in one of my favorite milkweed stands. I was able to spot at least a dozen caterpillars of various sizes. I didn't venture into the milkweeds; the caterpillars I saw were from the road.

Maybe the Monarchs born on Backbone Mountain are a little hardier as adults and can withstand the Winter better in the mountains of Mexico. Just a thought.
I am really glad to see a few were able to survive. This has without a doubt, been a bad year for Monarchs.

Posted by High Virginia Outdoors
Photos by High Virginia Images (c) 2011 all rights reserved

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Early Loon

The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is never common in the mountains of West Virginia. It is a unusual find for August, in this region. I found this juvenile at Teter Creek Lake in Barbour County; on August 26, 2011. These photos were taken on 8/28/11.

The Common Loon is often found on our larger bodies of water; during the Winter and early Spring. the adults nest on wooded lakes of the North.

This individual seems quite happy at Teter Creek Lake. I pulled into the boat ramp area this afternoon. I scanned the lake, hoping it was still there. the photos I took on Friday were fairly pitiful. I couldn't find the bird and was ready to go to the other end of the lake. Up it popped at the floating dock; ten yards away! I was able to take several pretty good photos.

I may never have the opportunity to get photos of a Common Loon in juvenile plumage again; around here. So I was quite pleased with the results. The other birds of note today were two Savannah Sparrows feeding on the dam area and one Green Heron at the western side of the dam.

All Photos By High Virginia Images (c) All rights Reserved
Posted by High Virginia Outdoors

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Required Reading: Great References

A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Peterson Field Guide)Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History (Princeton Field Guides)Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central AppalachiansThe Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)
Good reference books make the joy of discovery. The Summer turns to Autumn and activity picks up in the natural world. Many species are on the move; in preperation for Winter.

Those who are observant can always find new things. Good references are the only way to become satisfied with your new discovery.

There are many books available for identification purposes. These are the four that I have found most useful.

I don't know why I couldn't put the links to these books at the bottom of the page; where I wanted them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good News From Cheat Mountain

News Release: August 15, 2011
Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 957-9365
Steve Brown, Wildlife Resources Section 304-637-2045

Stream Restoration Program Restores Access for Brook Trout

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and its partners have completed a major project to restore spawning access for brook trout in Beaver Creek of the Shavers Fork River above Cheat Bridge in Randolph County. “For the first time in 25 years, brook trout in the Shavers Fork mainstem can move upstream into Beaver Creek to their critical tributary spawning areas,” DNR Director Frank Jezioro said
Unique in West Virginia, Shavers Fork is a historic, high-elevation, big-river brook trout fishery. For more than a century, the river and its watershed have been impacted by activities such as logging and railroad construction that have reduced brook trout habitat and populations. Recently developed species restoration plans have prioritized both habitat restoration and removal of fish passage barriers between the mainstem and the brook trout’s spawning tributaries.
The DNR Wildlife Resources Section has expanded its highly successful Acid Stream Restoration Program to include physical habitat restoration as well as stream liming, in which limestone pellets are added to streams to neutralize acid rain and mine drainage. Director Jezioro said “New grant funding for stream restoration became available to us through congressional appropriations and the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. This has allowed us to tackle additional habitat problems such as fish passage restoration.”
To build the Beaver Creek project, biologists worked with key partners at West Virginia University’s Natural Resources Analysis Center and others, assembling a team of experts with unique expertise and skills. The team included DNR biologists, WVU research scientists, stream restoration experts from Canaan Valley Institute, and railroad construction specialists from TrakSpec Railroad Corporation, based in Hurricane, W.Va. Because the project site is located on a remote section of railroad, all construction material such as logs and rocks and heavy equipment had to be transported to the site by rail. TrakSpec’s expertise and equipment was critical.
In the end, the team built a new, fish-friendly section of stream and a sophisticated complex of culverts, the centerpiece of which is a partially-buried 10-foot culvert containing a simulated stream channel. The project also doubled the flood capacity of the Beaver Creek culverts.
Midway through the project, a major design change was required to meet a mandatory construction deadline and to provide a design that could be more readily used for additional streams.
“The most impressive thing for me was the way the team pivoted to an entirely new design and pulled together to build such a high-quality project,” DNR Program Manager Steve Brown said. He added, “Major thanks go to the guys at CONTECH Construction Products who located a 10-foot culvert for us in a matter of hours and had it on site in three days. I also want to thank State Rail Director Cindy Butler and the State Rail Authority, which owns the rail, for their help throughout the effort.”
Looking to the future, Director Jezioro observed that the project is a good model for future transportation culvert replacements because it complies with all current and proposed Corps of Engineers requirements for fish passage through culverts.

Stream Restoration
Stream Restoration

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Butterfly of the Month/August

We are butterfly poor this year; I went out this morning to choose a subject for butterfly of the month. The only species present in any numbers (6) was the Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus troilus). This is a large butterfly of woodland openings and edges. The caterpillar feeds on Spicebush and Sassafras leaves. The adult butterfly feeds upon many flowers; including butterfly bush, milkweed and joe-pye weed.

I have both Sassafras and Spicebush in my yard and the Sassafras seems to be the most consistent host plant for the species. The caterpillar is the familiar caterpillar with the giant eye-spots.
The Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)

Photos by High Virginia Images    (c) All Rights Reserved

TWO-LANE LIVIN- A West Virginia Publication

Just when the world began predicting the death of print publications, Two-Lane Livin' Magazine was born. When the magazine was launched from a humble home office in Stumptown, West Virginia, no one expected that within a few years, Two-Lane Livin' would grow to be the largest independent publication in the state.
"When we released 10,000 copies of the first issue," said Publisher Lisa Minney, "I didn't know if anyone would want to read it. I knew it was full of topics and information that interested me, but I didn't know if others would feel the same way."
The first issue was gone in three days.
"I told her she was opening a can of worms," said Frank Minney, Lisa's husband and business partner. "I knew 10,000 copies wouldn't be near enough."
Now, Two-Lane Livin' is printed in runs of 16,000 copies monthly, 17,000 during travel season. "We found that, in summer, travelers through the state were taking so many copies that our regular readers weren't getting theirs," Lisa said. "We decided to print more during travel season at no extra cost to our clients, just to get the phone to stop ringing with requests for back issues that we didn't have."
What has made Two-Lane Livin' so popular? Lisa and Frank and both quick to answer, "our columnists." More than 35 columnists have contributed to the magazine in the past four years -- all of them as volunteers. "Some of our columnists are professionals, others just felt they had something to share. All of them have a passion for their subject matter, and that's what brought them to us," Lisa said. "I have no doubt that it is that passion -- that writing from the heart -- that connects to our readers."
As editor, Lisa never gives assignments to the columnists. New writers are given a short list of writing guidelines, but then are allowed the freedom to create and craft their installments on their own. "They are volunteers who know their topic and field much better than I," she said. "Who am I to tell them what to write?"
Two-Lane Livin' began with nine regular contributors, but now features 27 regular columns in every monthly issue. Some of the current contributors, Lisa and Frank have never met in person. "Within the first few months we started getting e-mails and phone calls from writers throughout the state," Lisa said. "Of course when I tell them our columnists are volunteers, there are some I don't hear from again, but even so, we now have a waiting list of columnists who want to contribute."
Two-Lane Livin's instant popularity, however, has not been easy to manage. "We started in ten counties," said Frank. "Now we distribute to 18 counties at more than 500 locations." He notes that distribution is always a challenge. "Ice, snow, flooding, wildlife, road construction, school busses -- all these affect delivery. Each issue is different, and delivery of each issue is different. We never know what we're going to encounter on the road."
Delivery of each new issue also includes recirculation of any leftover copies. "On average, we only encounter a one percent left over rate," Frank said. "Which equals about 150 copies a month." Those copies are instantly re-circulated to laundromats, waiting rooms, rest stops and travel centers. "We work hard to make sure that our advertising clients get every penny's worth of their money spent with us."
With industry studies showing that an average of 2.5 readers come in contact with each issue, Two-Lane Livin' has the potential to reach more than 40,000 readers every month. "But I think our readership is even higher than that," said Frank. "So many people tell me they pass their copy on to others, who in turn pass it on again and again and again."
In addition, the magazine's readership doesn't fit into many marketing formulas. "Very often, advertisers are seeking a specific target audience -- women, seniors, travelers, certain age groups, or social classes," Lisa said. "Our readership is so varied and widespread, it doesn't fit into any one of those categories. It covers them all."
Even so, there is no doubt that advertising and supporting Two-Lane Livin' has served clients well. “I have been very pleased with my advertising experience in Two Lane Livin’," said Sharon Ours of A Domestic Friend, who has been supporting the magazine for more than a year. "It is the best response I have received in any of my past print advertising experiences.”
Kevin Lake, a West Virginia author whose new novel "From the Graves of Babes" has become the best selling West Virginia ghost novel of the year and #1 ranked ghost novel on said, "I'm sure advertising in Two-Lane Livin' helped make that happen."
Lisa and Frank are always thrilled to hear such comments from their clients. "The support of our advertisers is what makes it possible for us to offer copies of the magazine to our readers for free," Lisa said. "We love knowing that our readers support the businesses and organizations that support the magazine. Success for our clients is success for the magazine."
In a time when many are predicting the demise of print publications, what does the future hold for Two-Lane Livin'? "I can't wait to see where it takes us next," Lisa laughs. "I love being the exception to the rule, and that could only happen here in West Virginia." Like all marketers, publishers and other media, Two-Lane Livin' plans to expand on the Internet, but so far, the magazine's efforts don't always follow the current trends.
"Our web site, facebook page, twitter and digital editions are experiencing growth, but nothing like our print edition. We've discovered an appreciation for print that supposedly no longer exists." Lisa said. "In response to demand from day one, we've expanded in print to communities we never expected to reach. Even so, as high speed internet coverage expands in the state, we are prepared to meet that growing demand as well."
Lisa and Frank have both taken courses on social media, video production, audio production and travel writing and photography. They now offer advertising in both their print and digital editions; QR Codes to reach out to readers who use mobile devices; online purchasing of advertising and subscriptions; and send copies -- either digitally or in print -- to 37 states. "Who knows?" Frank asked. "Some day we may launch Two-Lane Radio or Two-Lane TV."
"I'd like to say we planned on becoming the largest independent publication in the state," Lisa said, "but the truth is, Two-Lane Livin' has had a life of its own since day one. From the very start, we've felt like we're just along for the ride."
Over the past four years, the Minney's two-lane ride has also come to include four sub-contractors who help serve advertising clients or help deliver copies; promoted over 250 regional businesses; supported more than 75 non-profit organizations; and expanded the operating budget of the magazine's local post office.
"We're a local business, supported by local businesses, so we're all about local," Frank said. "We work to keep our advertising rates affordable because a little money spent with us goes a long, long way. Not just in distributed copies and readership, but also within the communities we serve."
Growth of the magazine and its features comes in direct response to reader demand and advertising support. While Lisa and Frank have plans and goals for the publication, they have learned over the past four years to respond and adjust to what readers and clients want and expect.
"Two-Lane Livin' surpassed our expectations a long time ago," Lisa said. "It may sound unorthodox, but in a sense, we let it tell us where it wants to go and what it wants to do." The support of a new client allows the magazine to expand in their region or in the media outlet of their choice. The approach of a new columnist gives the magazine a new character. New lessons in new media make new options and possibilities.
"Just as it has in the past," Lisa said, "In the future, Two-Lane Livin' will become what our readers and clients make of it, and we have all the faith in the world in our supporters."
To support Two-Lane Livin' Magazine with your advertising dollars, visit For access to featured columns, columnist blogs, and behind the scenes information, visit

Wildflower of the Month/August

The Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) grows in shaded locations; throughout our region. It often grows in very thick stands. To some, it is known as the Mountain Raspberry. The large fruit is tasty, when perfectly ripe. To me; it is unappealing if it is not quite ripe enough or slightly over-ripe. There appears to be a good crop this year in Randolph County. I checked on a patch yesterday; the fruits will not be ready to pick, until next week.

Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia (Southern Gateways Guides)

Posted by High Virginia Outdoors  Photos by High Virginia Images (c) All Rights Reserved