During all these years there existed within me a tendency to follow Nature in her walks.
~John James Audubon
Per my habit of posting such milestones, it is time to recognize another one hundred posts gone by. This makes 400 posts since this blog was born shortly into my retirement. Like the others before it, this last 100 has covered a lot of ground, and remembering it helps me appreciate how fortunate I am to experience the things I write about. Here are just a few of the highlights from this past 100…
As usual, a lot of my posts concerned things observed right here in the yard and woods of Chatham County. Sometimes the most beautiful and unusual are right outside (or on) your door.
I continue with my obsession of all things caterpillar (hope you don’t mind).
Zombie-making fungi and mind-controlling larval parasitoids played a role in several of my posts…what strange phenomena!
It was another hot summer, so it was tough to be outdoors for a few months. I did learn one way to stay cool while visiting Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge…
I was fortunate to spend some quality time in the wilds around Columbia, NC, working on a project with NCLOW to encourage ecotourism to this beautiful, and wild, part of our state.
There were many close observations of wildlife over the past several months. I always enjoy spending time with them in their haunts.
Spending time at my favorite refuge, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, is always a highlight, and this winter was no different.
I had several encounters with beautiful rattlesnakes this year, including this one, which was out and about for a few weeks in January at Pocosin Lakes NWR.
There was a rare treat of seeing a least bittern at another of my favorite haunts, Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge (thanks, Keith!).
I joined a museum trip for an unforgettable cruise off our coast in February. The rapid-fire diving of large numbers of northern gannets was a photographic challenge, and a highlight.
Another wonderful museum trip was to the opposite end of our beautiful state in search of mountain birds, like this chestnut-sided warbler.
Melissa and I hiked part of the Roan Mountain highlands, along with a large group of other visitors…but spectacular nonetheless.
I was lucky to lead a trip with friends to Everglades National Park in early spring. Gators and birds were everywhere!
Yellowstone is always a highlight in my year. I had a great couple of folks with me, and we had a wonderful time hiking and observing wildlife.
We backpacked for a few days along the Lost Coast Trail in California when fires and smoke altered our earlier plans for Yosemite.
Hiking among the giant redwoods is a humbling and peaceful experience, something we can all use when times get difficult.
I made a swing north looking for snow geese last November. Not too many of the target species, but plenty of cool sights.
One of the highlights of the year was a trip to famed Magee Marsh along the south shore of Lake Erie in Ohio, perhaps the warbler capitol of the world in spring. Definitely worth the trek.
So, another 100 events and observations of the incredible beauty all around us. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are many wonders just steps outside the door. Many are small wonders, there for the observing and enjoying, if only we take the time. Others were found on a variety of public lands across our state and beyond. It is fitting that this past Saturday was National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for pubic lands. Public lands are critical as habitat and for our recreation, education, and health. We owe them our support and our votes in this election season.
Our public lands – whether a national park or monument, wildlife refuge, forest or prairie – make each one of us land-rich. It is our inheritance as citizens of a country called America.
~Terry Tempest Williams,