This weekend is for the birds

The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming. Are you prepared?


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.”

Logistics: Sunday, 2 p.m., meet at Dismal Swamp State Park auditorium.

Sunday forecast: High of 54, partly cloudy.


Dismal Swamp State Park!? Isn’t that up in the way far northeast corner of the state? those of you more centrally located in the Tar Heel state may protest. It is. And it turns out you needn’t travel so far for a little bird 411. In fact, instruction can be found as close as 336 — in the Greensboro area. Specifically on Lake Townsend, one of the three watershed lakes rimming the north side of Greensboro, where Greensboro Parks & Rec. runs a weekly Waterfowl Birding Tour. This week’s tour is Saturday afternoon and includes binoculars and expert consultation from a local birding club.

Logistics: Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Lake Townsend Marina. $4. Reservations required by calling 336.373.3741

Weekend forecast: Clear, high of 52.

Lots of year-round green at South Mountains State Park.


In the spirit of Andy Rooney, did ya ever wonder why some plants stay green all year? Sure you have. And you can get an answer to this age-old question Saturday on the Wintergreen Hike at South Mountains State Park. Entails a “leisurely walk along the Hemlock Nature Trail.”

Logistics: Saturday, 11 a.m., meet at the Jacob Fork Parking Area. More info on the park here.

Weekend forecast: High of 54, clear to partly cloudy.

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Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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