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
When I first started writing about fitness and the outdoors back in the early 1990s, there were a handful of ways you could welcome the New Year in most communities. There was usually a 5K run, a bike shop sponsored a casual ride, canoe clubs held members-only paddles, there was a hike or two, and some oddball group was jumping into a local lake (and jumping right back out again). You had options for welcoming the new year, but not a lot.read more
I know it’s just Tuesday, but what better time to start planning for the weekend ahead than while the memory of the weekend past is still fresh
Two great options at Dismal Swamp State Park this weekend. Saturday, it’s Bike to the Bull North Burn, an 8-mile round-trip bike ride to the site of last year’s Bull North Fire. There’s a 20-minute program at the site, followed by a box lunch. Brink your own bike or rent one on site (make arrangements when you call to register). Starts at 9 a.m.read more
North Carolina’s diversity shows this weekend. At the coast, you can look for signs of spring, in the Piedmont you can run a venerable 5K and in the mountains, you can take a hike — possibly in the snow!
This is about the time the natural world starts to awaken from its cold winter nap — or as much of a nap as you can work in with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Most people assume that wildflowers such as the hepatica and trout lily represent the vanguard of spring, showing, typically, at the beginning of March. But knowing that spring is on the way is really a matter of knowing where to look. Under a log, for instance, which is where they’ll be looking for harbingers of spring on Saturday at Dismal Swamp State Park. Take a hike, find a log, flip it and see what scurries about. (Salamanders, millipedes and assorted insects will be your likely subjects.)read more
A glorious experience in a Dismal place, riding with the polar bears, avoiding getting lost (but what to do if you do). Just another diverse weekend of outdoor adventure in North Carolina.
“Remember that resolution you made to get outside and exercise more this year?,” asks Dismal Swamp State Park. (Hey, if companies are people and are entitled to a voice, certainly a great natural area is as well.) “There’s no time like the present to start!” And this chatty park would like you to start with its Resolution Hike this Saturday. Meet at the Visitor Center at 10 a.m., then explore what POTUS No. 1 and avid surveyor George Washington called “a glorious paradise.” The Great Dismal has a fascinating natural and human history (check out Bland Simpson’s highly entertaining “The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir”) that can’t be captured in two miles, but it’s a start.read more