Nature

The Rapp for Jan. 29

Jake Schepps (center) and his quintet perform Feb. 7 at the Theatre at Washington.

The Jake Schepps Quintet coming to the Theatre, "Boyhood" on Feb. 6, Bland Music Contest on Feb. 8, Nature Camp signup time and more in this week's The Rapp.
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Wild Ideas: Are robins still harbingers of spring?

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Jan. 29
Although they’re considered harbingers of spring, when they are commonly spotted pulling earthworms out of yards, many American robins overwinter in Virginia, relying mainly on berries from introduced ornamental plants to tide them over until spring.

Robins were long thought to be harbingers of spring, but changes in their environment means they’re ranging further north in the winter.
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Wild Ideas: Deer down, but the sky is not falling

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Jan. 22
Acorns collected on Aaron Mountain, Castleton.

When fewer deer were spotted this fall, fingers pointed to coyotes, disease and more liberal hunting seasons as decreasing deer populations. But the main factor in why fewer deer were seen may surprise you.
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Sperryville column for Jan. 15

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Jan. 15
Campers and counselors show off the dam they built in the Hazel River at the 2011 Rappahannock Nature Camp. Director Lyt Wood is at right. This year’s camps start June 15 and June 29.

This year the Rappahannock Nature Camp, founded and run by Lyt Wood of Sperryville, will celebrate its 30th early-summer session on the banks of the Hazel River — that is, if a new sponsor can be found.
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Wild Ideas: Where are the squirrels?

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Jan. 15
Fewer gray and fox squirrels were spotted in 2014, but are they disappearing?

Fewer squirrels were sighted this year, so are they disappearing? At the heart of the mystery is a complex food web and fluctuating acorn crop.
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Wild Ideas: Scatological ramblings

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Jan. 8
The tiny and properly named wintergreen plant.

While wildlife watching is more limited during the winter, you can discover who has been out and about by what they leave behind, and monarch butterflies may be headed to the endangered species list, in this week’s Wild Ideas column.
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Wild Ideas: Gaeaf followup

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Jan. 1
TC is among the cats available for adoption at RappCats.

After Pam Owen’s Wild Ideas column about helping a stray cat engendered a few heated comments online, she clarifies the plan for him.
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Editorial: A Charlie Brown Christmas tree

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Dec. 18, 2014
Original by Quadell via Wikimedia Commons

It may get no respect, but in Walter Nicklin’s mind, the Eastern red cedar is the most authentic of Christmas trees — and the one that is most identified with Rappahannock County.
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Wild Ideas: Of Gaeaf, Golda and birds

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Dec. 18, 2014
Gaeaf, the stray male cat.

Pam Owen contemplates what to do with a stray cat that’s been hanging around.
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The Rapp column for Dec. 11

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Dec. 11, 2014
Old Rag Master Naturalists inspect the terrain on a geology field trip at Stony Man lookout in Shenandoah National Park.

Holiday concerts, local arts grants, a Constitutional advocate at Gray Ghost, a run/walk fundraiser for the “Shop with a Deputy” program, holiday-related art workshops and more in this week’s The Rapp.
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Wild Ideas: Are animals smarter than we think?

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Dec. 11, 2014
Some ants farm their food, like these ants, which protect aphids in return for harvesting the “honeydew” their livestock excrete.

Just how smart are we as a species? Pam Owen explores some of the amazing things other species can do in this week’s Wild Ideas column.
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Wild Ideas: Becoming the animal

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Dec. 4, 2014
From original by Dori via Wikimedia

Pam Owen usually goes into nature armed with a camera and other encumbrances, but sometimes meeting nature with only the clothes on our backs provides bigger rewards — a chance to become another species, if only for a few minutes.
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Eagle, eyed

By David Batchelder

May all your Thanksgivings be…

By Gary Anthes

A ‘Tree-o of Owlets’

By Denise Machado

Fall freeze

Castleton resident and photographer Gary Anthes said last week was the earliest in the season he’d ever seen his farm pond freeze over.

Wild Ideas: A little snowbird is back

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Nov. 20, 2014
Although it is only four inches long, “per unit weight, the Winter Wren delivers its song with 10 times more power than a crowing rooster,” according to AllAboutBirds.org.

Last week Rappahannock got its first dusting of snow, but our annual avian winter visitors arrived earlier, including a tiny brown bird displaying unexpected behavior at Pam Owen’s house.
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Editorial: That time of year

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Nov. 13, 2014
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

This year’s spectacular fall foliage brought great beauty, but also great noise pollution, as leaf blowers are taken up to manage the fallen leaves.
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Wild Ideas: In the news: good guide, bad bug

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Nov. 13, 2014
Despite its beauty, the Asian spotted lanterfly, sighted in Pennsylvania this fall, could follow in the footsteps of the brown marmorated stink bug.

News recently arrived in Pam Owen’s email inbox of a new shrub and vine identification guide from the Virginia Department of Forestry and a report of yet another threatening bug invading Pennsylvania.
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Leaving a happier planet

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Nov. 6, 2014
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

Money does grow on trees — along with health and high spirits. Don’t lose yours as autumn dwindles.
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Editorial: We want to believe

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Nov. 6, 2014
By Bas Lammers via Wikimedia Commons

Screeches and screams reportedly heard rolling across the hills and vales of Rappahannock were not wails of disappointment from residents whose favored candidates did not win on Tuesday. But could it really have been, as someone said, a mountain lion?
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Wild Ideas: Cool weather brings stick insects and furry cats

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Oct. 30, 2014
With its slim body, this male northern walking stick’s head is on the move, its antennae out.

Although more species of insects are out and about during the warm days of summer, some of the most interesting ones show up in the fall. Two appeared in the last couple of weeks that sent Pam Owen to her references to try to identify them.
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This little light of ours

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Oct. 23, 2014
Photo by Kaye Kohler

As the autumn daylight wanes, nature and the human body ordinarily adjust themselves for winter. But increasingly, we’re setting the world aglow 24/7 with all-night lighting. Liza Field takes a look at research illuminating a few of the fiscal, environmental and healthcare costs of that new light bill.
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Washington column for Oct. 23

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Oct. 23, 2014
A nice crowd at the Trinity Evensong, ending the busy past weekend in Washington.

A trip to Italy, a weekend of color and visitors thanks to Trinity, WVFR’s ham and oyster dinner and more in this week’s Washington column.
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Photo: Amissville spread

By Tom Woolman

The Rapp for Oct. 16

One of the glass-on-glass works made at Candace Clough’s last workshop at Mullany Studio School.

It’s shaping up to be a busy weekend, as “No Ordinary Person” returns to the RAAC Community Theatre with a two-night show, while Gilbert & Sullivan return to the Theatre and much more; meanwhile, Gray Ghost increases its medal count and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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When a farm turns factory, what’s a town to do?

A Pennsylvania law designed to protect farms from nuisance complaints has also allowed concentrated animal feeding operations — factory farms — to escape local land use controls, writes Tim Rowland.
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Wild Ideas: Fine weather and great fall outings

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Oct. 16, 2014
Visitors to the ACF walk up Race Track Hill to see the view of the SCBI campus below and the Blue Ridge beyond.

Pam Owen and her brother Dana recently took advantage of some intermittently fine fall weather to enjoy the Autumn Conservation Festival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and to hike in Shenandoah National Park and the Chester F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area.
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The Rapp for Oct. 9

Kit Habib, whose mugs are pictured here, is among the artisans you can meet at Coterie this weekend.

Play some corn hole or get a helicopter ride at the RCHS fall festival, celebrate Craft Week with Coterie, win a lifetime membership to the Schoolhouse Nine course, view the photographs from SNP’s first artist-in-residence and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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Editorial: In search of clarity

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Oct. 9, 2014
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Early Sunday morning, for many Rappahannock residents, brought the season’s first frost. And with it comes a certain clarity of vision — it’s the perfect time of year to reacquaint yourself with your favorite poems.
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Photos: Life on the hill

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Oct. 9, 2014
Photo by Roger Piantadosi

Letter: Headmaster’s: A perfect fall capstone

This past weekend was one of those magical Rappahannock weekends for me and my daughter. Not only was it perfect weather, but all of our local haunts had the spirit and atmosphere of an old-fashioned Christmas Eve afternoon where people are happy and helpful and just plain wonderful. Now, fasten your seatbelt, because our...
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Wild Ideas: Planting the right tree at the right time

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Oct. 9, 2014
A white oak sports its fall colors. This beautiful, long-lived native tree provides the fattiest acorns, a favorite of many wildlife species.

Leaves are already starting to turn color and are expected to peak soon. With winter approaching, it might seem counterintuitive to plant trees, but this is actually the perfect time.
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These neighbors are a different kind of wild

Photo by Christopher Bruno via Wikimedia Commons

Most people hate coyotes, but not Jim Minick. He loves them, their wildness most of all. And, like it or not, they’re not going anywhere — despite everyone’s best efforts.
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Wild Ideas: A newly noticeable native mantis

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Oct. 2, 2014
This female Carolina mantis (spotted waiting for prey among dogwood berries) appears to be missing the last segments of its forelegs, or the legs are folded into the next segment so tightly they seem to have disappeared.

Over the course of just a few days, Pam Owen had several serendipitous encounters with an insect new to her — the Carolina mantis. After years without a single sighting, she glimpsed three in four days.
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SCBI lecture series resumes Oct. 1

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Sept. 26, 2014

Smithsonian scientists and other conservation professionals resume a free Wednesday-night lecture series at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s (SCBI) new Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, which is cosponsoring the series starting Oct. 1.
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A 101-mile hike for park charities

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Sept. 25, 2014
Jennifer Davis hiked all 101 miles of the Shenandoah National Park portion of the Appalachian Trail to raise money for two local charities.

Local biologist Jennifer Davis showed just returned from hiking the 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail within the Shenandoah National Park to raise money for two charities: the Shenandoah National Park Trust and the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.
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Through the Tiger Valley looking glass

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Sept. 25, 2014
Ruthie Windsor-Mann’s “Odd Man In” is just one of her “nest obsession” series on display during this year’s art tour.

In a conversation with Ruthie Windsor-Mann, her artistic energy is palpable. The charming, genteel artist is happily slated for her first appearance in the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community’s upcoming 10th annual studio and gallery tour Nov. 1-2.
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Editorial: Beyond the here and now

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Sept. 25, 2014
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Almost 100 marchers in the People's Climate March came from Rappahannock County! Only kidding! For, blessed as we are to live here, Rappahannock’s demographics are precisely those associated with American citizens who view climate concerns as not serious.
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VDOF seedling sales online Oct. 14

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Sept. 25, 2014

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) officials report that demand for loblolly pine seedlings is very high this season, and the agency anticipates selling out early.
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