Birding and herping in the Piedmont grasslands

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to spend a day in the field with two luminaries from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. Ornithologist John Gerwin has studied the special population of black-throated green warblers that breeds on forested peaks in the Uwharries, and he was eager to spend some time in our grasslands. […]

One tough turtle

Have you ever been out swimming or kayaking in the streams and lakes of North Carolina and seen turtles sunning themselves on rocks and logs? If so, then chances are that you have spotted the painted turtle at least once. The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is one of the most common and widespread species of […]

Wildlife of the Rocky River: the spiny softshell turtle

The Rocky River begins in Iredell County and flows through Cabarrus, Stanly, Anson and Union counties. This part of our region is very close to South Carolina and you find some interesting critters here you don’t see in other parts of the central N.C. Piedmont. One distinctive species is the Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle […]

Snapping turtles on the move

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Nature, Reptiles

Have you been seeing more turtles than usual on your morning commute lately? If you’ve been driving this spring on rural highways in North Carolina, you might have detected a surge in turtle activity, especially snapping turtles. Chelydraserpentina, or the common snapping turtle, is one of the more striking members of our state’s turtle clan. […]

A walk in the woods

Have you ever wondered what you might see if you spent a whole weekend outside just looking? How about if you could also bring a few expert field biologists and naturalists with you? Well, that’s what we were able to at The LandTrust for Central North Carolina’s first Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend in May. More than […]

A snake that comes in many colors

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Nature, Reptiles

A friend of mine recently rescued a snake from the parking lot where he works, and released it back into the woods. He sent me a picture asking for help identifying it. The coloration threw me off a bit, so I had to ask an expert. It was about four feet long with a mix […]

Unlikely habitat for a unique herptile

Categories: General News Tags: Nature, Reptiles

It’s no secret that I love to be outside. Woods, farms, fields, trails, creeks, streams, rivers – if it’s outdoors, you name it and I’m there. Some of my favorite places to explore are the most pristine ones – dark, emerald green forests where rays of sunlight glint through towering spruce, where there’s a distinct […]

Royal serpents

Although some folks find snakes incredibly fascinating, and others shriek in terror and run from them, most people are somewhere in the middle – either casually interested or coolly indifferent. If I see a snake in the woods, I’ll likely get close enough to take a picture and identify it, and then carry on my […]

Rattlesnakes can lower your taxes: The Wildlife Conservation Land Program

The headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington bears a quote from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” Given the sticker shock many of us received when we opened our property revaluation notices, I imagine plenty of folks wouldn’t mind our society being a […]

Box turtles

My mom was putting out mulch about this time last year when she noticed a box turtle digging a hole in the dry, red clay under the eaves of the house. Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) appear in many types of habitat, making them a natural choice for our state reptile. Since they’re most […]