Columnists

Wild Ideas: The treefrogs are calling, and I must go

Much of the spring, I have felt like a private eye specializing in divorce cases — stalking animals, camera in hand, to try to catch them in flagrante delicto. One evening last week, it was the calling of gray treefrogs that put me on the hunt for mating herps once again. […]

Columnists

Wild Ideas: Pollen on the way?

Pollen season is almost upon us and, thanks to the relatively warm winter, may arrive sooner than expected. The culprits spewing what, for some of us, is an annoying allergen are members of the juniper family. This is the only tree pollen I seem to be allergic to, and it creeps up on me most years, being the last thing on my mind when I stare out at the bare winter landscape. […]

Featured

Wild Ideas: Who made that mark?

One of the reasons I love to write about nature is that it gives me a great excuse to spend time trying to solve the mysteries with which the natural world abounds. Of course, the more answers I find, the more questions I have. […]

Featured

Wild Ideas: The monarchs of Death Valley

When I joined my brother, Dana, and his wife, Joyce, in Death Valley National Park on Oct. 6 for a five-day camping trip, it was hot. Of course, I expected our campsite, at Furnace Creek — on the valley floor, almost 300 feet below sea level — to be hot . . . but not that hot. […]

Featured

When you find snake eggs

In July, Sperryville resident Virginie Audrain sent me some photos of eggs she and her companion, stonemason Jim Carter, found in one of the compost piles they use to fertilize their gardens. […]

Home & Garden

Wild Ideas: The case of the mystery hummingbird

For the average birder, checking off one more species on his or her life list can be a thrill, especially if that bird is outside its known range. For those of us who do not consider ourselves birders but still love to watch birds, just sorting out common species can be a challenge, and the rarer ones even more so. […]

Featured

WILD IDEAS: What’s tossed around, comes around

I had business near Woodville recently that led to my driving back roads in the area around dawn and dusk for a couple of weeks. The gently rolling hills along the route are mostly pastures, with cows and horses, and wildflowers grow in fallow fields, which made this an enjoyable drive. […]

Home & Garden

Wild Ideas: Nature notes: Chestnut restoration, dog origins and more

With the return of rain this weekend, I decided to spend some time inside catching up on the nature news that has been landing in my email inbox for the last couple of weeks. The stories that caught my eye were about chestnut restoration, the origin of domestic dogs and a mantis named for a justice of the Supreme Court, along with some nature walks in our area. […]

Home & Garden

Wild Ideas: Nature as medicine |

Having a passion for nature can be rewarding in many ways, but now scientists studying the relatively new discipline of “environmental psychology” (aka “ecopsychology”) are finding that being out in nature has real health benefits. […]