To everything there is a season — and in this season of winter, the thing is making sense of the natural world. Learn your birds at the coast, your amphibians in the Piedmont, your naked trees in the mountains.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird —
Yes, but what kind?
It’s a question that perplexes many of us when we spy an avian friend flying overhead. And it’s a question you can find answers to Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hammocks Beach State Park. There, a ranger will lead the group in identifying and counting birds as part of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. It’s a massive exercise in citizen science, as people around the country report who’s flying in and out of their backyards. Binos and bird guides available, bring your own if you’ve got ‘em.read more
This is a weekend for just about anyone. At the coast, take a mellow walk into the past in downtown Wilmington. In the Piedmont, brush up on your bird awareness for the upcoming census. In the mountains, strap on your crampons for a high country winter hike.read more
This year’s edition of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 15-18. On those days, amateur birdwatchers — or Citizen Scientists, as joint sponsors The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon refer to them — take as little as 15 minutes a day to record the bird activity around them. Count the number of different species you see in a given location, enter your findings at the GBBC Web site.
The count is open to even the most inexperienced birder. But if you are that inexperienced birder, you’d like to have at least some idea of what you’re looking at. If you can’t tell a robin from a wren, then you might benefit from an Armchair Birding class, which they just happen to be offering Sunday at Dismal Swamp State Park. Tips on how to ID birds and “make a contribution as a Citizen Scientist … in next week’s Great Backyard Bird Count.”read more
It’s another diverse weekend in North Carolina: Take a preseason plunge into the chilly Atlantic, run up a quartzite monadnock, or spy on your feathered friends (in the name of science).
Here’s a good opportunity to see just how sturdy your cardio is: The 8th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge Saturday at Carolina Beach. Picture yourself at the Le Mans-style start, you in your fetching bathing suit making a mad dash for the 51.3 degree waters of the Atlantic — all in support of Special Olympics. Related festivities — live entertainment, costume contest, auction, food, drawings for prizes — start at 11 a.m., the plunge takes place during the heat of the day, at 3 p.m. (air temperatures around 60 are forecast).read more