Agents of Change

A fellow wildlife biologist once told me that if you don’t write it down, it’s like it never happened. Throughout my career I have filled dozens of notebooks detailing my observations of all things wild. I’ve transcribed those notes onto data sheets, which I then entered into databases. Those databases were ultimately backed up on …

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Glacier Bay, Alaska

Sitka spruce and western hemlock forests draped in moss and lichen slope steeply toward the sea. The forest forms a nearly impenetrable wall giving the illusion that it is sealed from that which bares its reflection, but the illusion that one has nothing to do with the other is false. These elements - the sea …

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A mindful moment

John and I just arrived home after a week in Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska. Having never been to Alaska, I was awed by its beauty and wildness. My original intention with this week's post was to write a photo essay about the trip, but I learned so much about park that it …

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Magic Cicadas

Somewhere outside the D.C. metropolitan area a bumbling cicada has smacked a suburban dad in the face while he is mowing his lawn. Dad leaps into the air and swats at the cicada. The cicada, a female, is attracted to the hum of the push lawn mower, mistaking its drone for a chorus of males. …

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The Nesting Season

A bird's nest. Neat and tidy, hidden among willow branches or tucked under a drooping maidenhair fern. A bird's nest. Old and tangled, a pile of sticks right out in the open atop a snag or a crumbling rock pinnacle, or sometimes right on the ground. A bird's nest. Obvious but hidden from view nonetheless, …

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The Earth Has Its Music

I wake well before dawn - 4:30 am to be precise. It’s an hour that defies logic, unless it is your job to monitor songbirds (as was mine for 15 years). Even though it will be dark for another hour, I hear a robin singing outside my bedroom window (each link takes you to a sound …

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A “Ding” Darling of a Refuge

The alligator’s scaled back barely breaches the surface of a still backwater pond in J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Wary of my presence, this ancient reptile slips beneath the surface and melts into the pond’s murky depths. The long-legged wading birds foraging nearby raise their heads and consider their options. Most of them …

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