Get outside, but slow down
Have you been enjoying the cooler turn of our weather?
November is a favorite month for me. I really enjoy the mild temperatures and the low humidity levels. Everything seems to look so crisp and clear. Speaking of things looking clear, did you get a chance to check out the supermoon on Monday night?
Since the skies get dark so much earlier now, it was easy to get even the littlest members of our family outside to enjoy the bright glow of the moon when the heavy cloud cover cooperated.
It was a bit difficult for us novices to discern that the moon appeared 14 percent bigger than it normally does, but it sure was a lot brighter to the naked eye and everyone thought that was pretty neat.
The bad news is if you missed this astronomical phenomenon, you’re going to have to wait another 18 years to see the moon this close again.
The good news is another supermoon will grace our skies on Dec. 14. It won’t be quite as large, but you probably won’t be able to tell the difference anyway. The important thing is to get outside and take a look at our nearest neighbor in the solar system and marvel at the amazing workings of our universe.
When I was a little girl, my dad would sit out in the front yard at night in the middle of winter with a Thermos of hot coffee and his telescope. Sometimes he would call my sister and I outside to take a look and we’d join him in our pajamas and winter coats for a few minutes of gazing up at the night sky together.
He would instruct us in the finer points of stargazing and provide valuable lessons in astronomy, telling us stories about the constellations and teaching us how to identify the stars. However, now that I think back, it seems like he really wouldn’t let us stay out in the cold with him too long. Now that I’m a parent myself, I can understand how enjoyable those rare moments of silence and solitude must have been for him, with just his coffee and the stars.
There sure have been a lot of car accidents in Southern Maryland lately. I’ve seen some pretty horrendous looking wrecks both in person and in photos online. Just this week I passed by a crash involving some cars and two school buses in Leonardtown.
I was behind a bus that was dropping off kids every couple streets along Route 5, moseying along at a snail’s pace and watching the clock because I was enroute to pick up my kids from school. Then a red pickup truck passed me and got directly behind the bus. Several times he veered over into the other lane, presumably to try to pass, and he even drove in
the shoulder for quite a ways, like it was another lane of Route 5.
We ended up stopped next to each other in the turning lanes to Great Mills Road. All those antics for miles and miles, and they didn’t get him to his destination any faster. As we were turning, I looked over and I bet you can guess what he was doing while he was driving. Yep, something on his phone.
Folks, don’t take unnecessary risks on the road. Slow down, not just for deer and other wildlife but for our fellow human beings as well. Whatever you are in a rush to get to, it will still be there when you arrive. And, for heaven’s sake, put down your phone and pay attention to the road. Some of us are driving around with our most precious treasures buckled in beside us.
Perch are hitting bloodworms hard on the bottoms of the river right now. Ken Lamb of The Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) said they are wall to wall and catching hundreds of perch from 8 to 12 inches, two at a time on double hook bottom rigs is the norm.
Lamb also said catfish are in the upper reaches of the Potomac and
Patuxent rivers and are “big and plenty.” Cut alewives is great bait. There are so many catfish that bass fishermen are even catching them on bass lures in the upper Potomac.
See some raptors in person
Cardinals, blue jays and chickadees are all fine and dandy birds, but those birds of prey — like the owl, hawk, and eagle — are truly magnificent creatures.
Some of us are lucky enough to see them flying overhead as they scout out a meal or perched up high on a tree branch, but rarely are we able to observe these creatures from an arm’s length away.
On Nov. 19, there is an opportunity to view a few of these raptors in person. Eagle Pines Falconry and Raptor Rescue, located near Richmond, Va., will be at Wild Birds Unlimited in Lexington Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an assortment of their winged wonders, including a bald eagle.
The goal of rehabilitation is always first and foremost to return a rescued animal to the wild. Unfortunately for some birds, injury or illness can make that goal impossible. These animals can still serve a noble purpose, educating the public. And, for a small donation, you can even hold one of their smaller
And while you’re there to see the hawks and falcons, take a few minutes to look around the shop. I was there just a day ago, and it’s already splendidly decorated for Christmas with plenty of gift ideas for the bird lover on your list.
The folks at Wild Birds Unlimited are some of the friendliest and most helpful people. They even carry your purchases out to the car for you, which
is much appreciated when you’re hustling four kids out the door.
And they sure know their game. A few times I’ve been lucky to be there when there’s a promotion and I’ve left with a free feeder. Of course, I’m going to need even more of their deluxe birdseed to keep them all filled. But the number and variety of birds that flock to the feeders in my backyard is certainly worth it.