Saturday, December 11, 2010

Geminid meteors on the way

CAPE CANAVERAL,Fla - Stay tuned for nature's coming attraction. Early next week, the Geminid meteor shower will make its annual appearance, just in time for Christmas. Astronomers consider it the best meteor shower of the year, with more than 100 meteors streaking through the night sky every hour.
The peak of the meteor shower will occur early Tuesday, between midnight and sunrise local time. The show will be best in the Northern Hemisphere, easily visible with the naked eye.
For those not willing to stay up late - or get up early - there should be a decent showing Monday once the sun sets. Actually, some meteors should be visible in the night sky from Sunday to Thursday, as long as the sky is clear, according to NASA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bird watchers to count variety of species in Morgantown

On Dec 18, area families, students, birders and scientists - all armed with binoculars, bird guides and check-lists - will be out before dawn to count birds.
The Mountaineer Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held each year, is centered on the Morgantown Airport and, like all counts, is a circle with a diameter of 15 miles.
Both advanced and novice birders are welcome to participate. There is no charge. To register: 304-379-4492 or e-mail
The goal is to count all the birds within 7 1/2 miles of where the two runways intersect. The CBC circle is divided into areas, which are covered by teams. A team is usually out from dawn to dusk, with individual participants joining in for as much of the day as they choose. Again this year, LeJay Graffious is the coordinator and compiler and will set up teams based on the number of people interested in taking part. The count usually has a minimum of four teams covering the count area.
Owling is another phase of the count. In this section, birders listen for owls and other nocturnal calls or sightings.
Those with bird feeders can conduct "feeder counts" of the number of each species seen at their feeders on Dec 18, then call Graffious to report their totals Dec 19 and Dec 20.
To make certain every species is counted, any birds completely missed on count day can be footnoted as "seen during count week" if spotted within three days before or after Dec 18. Count Week for the Morgantown CBC is Dec 15-21.
The final tally report is sent to be included in the National Audubon Society's 111th Christmas Bird Count.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter bird walk set in Canaan Valley

The Refuge and Friends of the 500th will host a winter bird walk at 8am, Saturday at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteer Casey Rucker will lead the walk. Those participating will meet at the refuge's office. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking boots. The walk is free.
There will also be a Christmas bird count Dec 18. Contact Ken Sturm at 304-866-3858 before that day to get assignments.

In case you have never heard of the Refuge and Friends of the 500th (I hadn't), you can reach their website at

Friday, December 3, 2010


December 5th - Winter Botany Walk
Join landscape architect and WVBG Executive Director George Longenecker for the last walk of the season at the West Virginia Botanic Garden! George will explain to us how to recognize the native and exotic trees, shrubs, and ground covers growing in the Garden by means of leaf scars, bud scales, bark characteristics and many other indicators left behind after the leaves fall. Learn with us this little known lore of the old growth forest at the West Virginia Botanic Garden! Bring magnifying glasses if have them, otherwise we'll share ours. all ages are welcome. Wear hiking footwear, preferably waterproof. Meet at the lower parking lot on Sunday, December 5, at 2:00pm. Walk is free and open to the public.
Contact Erin at for more information.