Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Some Fresh Water Fishes Part 1

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

This is a slideshow of the scans of Some North Carolina Fresh-Water Fishes, a 1962 publication by the North Carolina Wildife Resources Commission. It features the wonderful paintings of Duane Raver, Jr., who has painted many a cover of NC Wildlife.
You can slow down and stop the slideshow of course and read the individual pages at the photoset page.

Strange area with lichens everywhere

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

A short look at one of the areas at Carolina Beach State Park with an abundance of lichens. Very strange place.

A photo slideshow of closer images is here.

The beach forest in winter

Friday, January 14th, 2011

From a recent hike on Pleasure Island.

In the sky this week

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Sorry to be a little late with this.
Here’s the week ahead via the USNO, where the magic word for the week is perihelion:

This week also marks another milestone in our annual journey around the Sun. On January 3rd we reached perihelion, Earth’s closest point to Old Sol for the year. Our day-star’s center was a mere 147.1 million kilometers (91.4 million miles) from the center of Earth. This means that we are moving at our most rapid orbital velocity around Old Sol, which also means that winter is thus our shortest season in the Northern Hemisphere! Take heart, summer lovers.

And a little more about Venus from S&T:

In the coming weeks and months Venus will grow thickly gibbous while shrinking in apparent diameter; it’s pulling far ahead of Earth in its faster orbit and is beginning to swing around to the far side of the Sun.

(Note that the S&K link is not a permalink.)

Flying over snow-covered lands

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The flight home (via Baltimore.)

Christmas snowfall map

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Here’s the official December 25-26 Snow Accumulation Map via the NWS. Can you find your house?

(Click on the map for a larger version)

Christmas Day Walk

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Not here, but one taken just south of Indianapolis.

Snow accumulation Dec 4-5

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Here’s the official map of the recent snowstorm.

Shows how widespread it was.

Our Natural Gardens

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The 1967 edition of Naural Gardens

The North Carolina Botanical Garden has a wonderful exhibit up about B.W. Wells. It’s a great introduction to the man and his work.
Wells’ contribution to the preservation and scholarship of North Carolina’s natural world is a unique achievement for one person in one lifetime.
I’ll not dwell too much on the man’s biography as there have been many more able than myself who have more greatly described Wells and his impact.
Among them is Ken Moore, who has written extensively on his mentor. In taking up Ken’s advice to visit Wells’ homesite on the day of the annual celebration, I got at least a good grounding in what he was about. [You can see a slideshow of the site on the Almanac's flickr site here.]
The modest home and workspace are not the star attractions. The beauty of the place, now part of a state park, is in the lands that surround these structures. The Neuse River bends gracefully there and on the walk along the river, rock outcroppings jut out in places inviting one to pause, have a seat and watch the current flow and the birds work their way up and down the waterway.
We are much indebted to Wells for many years of service. Perhaps the most lasting of his accomplishments was helping us understand the variety of environments within our state’s borders. His book, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, first published in 1932, put the ecosystems and plant communities of the state in context.
Starting with the seaside plant communities, the book takes you on a tour west through the marshes, swamp forests, bogs, sandhills, grasslands, uplands, great forests and the high mountains. All along the way, Wells lays out in meticulous detail the formation and dynamics of the natural gardens within these regions. The work is scholarly, but not dry. He clearly has favorites among the species surveyed.

So let me suggest to my reader in the Piedmont that the next time you pass a broom-sedge field, pause a moment and in imagination picture the valueless areas of bare, red clay ridges running helter-skelter in all direction which would surely be there were it not for the early capture and preservation of the land by this grass, which holds it well and, in turn, eventually passes it over to the even better safekeeping of the forest. — Chapter VIII, Old Fields

You can pick up an updated version of Natural Gardens at the Garden or online through UNC Press. If you look hard enough and long enough in the used bookstores around town you can also find one of the precious old copies of the previous versions of Natural Gardens.

Fog rivers

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Got up early and watched fog rivers rolling from the little porch off our room off the Parkway.