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  • Paddling the Rocky River | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    at Riverbend Farm a new access that is open to the public Address is 12150 McManus Road Midland N C 28107 On this paddle trip I spotted a wide variety of wildlife including two turkeys that flew across and four deer that splashed across the river right in front of me A group of six white egrets put on a show as well flying downriver in front of us for more than a mile The river was a little low and we had to get out in a few places but overall it was a great trip and well worth the effort The town of Midland maintains the Riverbend Farm river access I was fortunate enough to accompany a group of conservation recreation and tourism folks and we had permission to take out at a property downstream The LandTrust for Central NC the Carolina Thread Trail and Catawba Lands Conservancy are working together on possible future public accesses downstream There is also a 0 9 mile hiking trail at Riverbend Farm Another public access is above where we put in the Pharr Family Preserve maintained by Catawba Lands Conservancy It s at 9111 Mount Pleasant Road South Midland N C 28107 From this put in it is approximately 4 5 miles to the take out at Riverbend Farm You can learn more and view maps on the Carolina Thread Trail website here http www carolinathreadtrailmap org trails trail rocky river blueway There is an additional public access to the south in Anson County on the Pee Dee River making it possible to paddle from U S 52 on the Rocky pass the Forks where it merges with the Pee Dee and taking out at the N C 109 wildlife access area on the Pee Dee near the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge also known as the Red Hill access location at N 35 5 5 3 W 79 59 55 I have not done this stretch yet but A Paddler s Guide to Eastern North Carolina by Bob Benner and Tom McCloud estimates the length of this float at 11 4 miles and approximately 4 5 hours Their guidebook has more details on the upstream accesses on the Rocky River as well Whatever stretch of the Rocky you may decide to do gather all the information you can and carry all needed supplies and then get out and enjoy the river Fall is a great time for paddling when the leaves rain down softly on the water and the vibrant reds oranges and yellows in the trees are reflected there as well It is exciting that the additional public access area on the Rocky is in the works to make this great place more open for all It is another jewel in our region Related articles Today s backyard pests were once tasty prey Feb 05 2016 At 80 biologist Matthews still stalks the threatened landscapes Feb 02 2016 The addictive allure of bird watching Dec 15 2015 Banding sparrows

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/story/paddling-rocky-river (2016-02-18)
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  • Apps for better birding, serious star gazing | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    and have gotten a good picture of a bird and want to confirm the identification Researchers from Columbia University the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution developed this app and it uses visual recognition to identify birds Based on your location and time of year it narrows the birds to a set that are expected to be in your area You can either take a picture of a bird or upload an image from your pictures on your device and then the app asks you to tap on the eye and then the tail and it scans over the bird and gives you a possible ID sometimes one bird and sometimes a list of a few possible birds Most recently I was paddling at Narrows Reservoir in Albemarle and spotted a few cormorants I d often heard these were double crested cormorants but was unsure When I got home I checked it with Birdsnap and got a positive ID One of the birds was drying its wings and as I learned from this app cormorants don t have waterproof feathers which explains this interesting behavior The one limitation to Birdsnap is that you do have to get a clear picture of the bird which can be hard to do Thanks to a grant from the Norcross Wildlife Fund I was able to purchase a work camera with a 50x optical zoom that has made it possible for me to get some good bird images that work with this app Sometimes simply having the Internet at your fingertips is a useful field tool where service is available I was out with some of my botanist friends recently and we were trying to find a specific rare plant one of them had identified during a recent Carolina Vegetation Survey CVS Using the CVS website on my phone I could find the plots there were several in the area but the biologist remembered the specific forest type which allowed me to narrow the search to one plot Then using the Google map app which showed our location as a blue dot that moved with us I could switch back and forth between the map on the CVS website and Google maps and navigate us to the spot Another app I have recently downloaded is called Soilweb It is a very simple to use app you just tap Get my Location and it gives you a breakdown of the soil types underneath the approximate location where you re standing The California Soil Resource Lab at UC Davis developed this app in partnership with the U S Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service These are just a few of the apps I ve found handy when I m out in the woods for field work I know there are many others equally useful I just recently downloaded Star Walk by Vito Technology and am anxious to try it it is an interactive astronomy guide that lets you see the stars and planets and

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/story/top-wildlife-apps-birds-stars-and-more (2016-02-18)
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  • The ancient bowfin – a unique fish | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    their back and goes all the way to their tail and rolls back and forth as they swim They are a ray finned fish which means their fins consist of webs of skin supported by bony spines Bowfin have several interesting characteristics perhaps the most notable of which is that they are bimodal breathers which means they have the ability to intake oxygen both from water and air They have both gills and a swim bladder lung the latter of which allows them to survive by breathing or gulping air if they are in waters with low oxygen also known as hypoxic conditions This gives them a benefit over other species that cannot survive such conditions Although their meat is only questionably palatable some say they are good when smoked but they are not classically thought of as a sport fish They are a strong and muscular fish capable of quick movement though and as such are known to put on a good fight for an angler Because they eat other fish they were once considered a threat for other game fish populations but now are believed to be valuable as they take out the weaker and less preferable sport fish They tend to be more common in coastal areas of the state and I have seen them in ponds at the Pee Dee Wildlife refuge but would be interested to know if others have seen bowfin in the Uwharrie area or nearby email me at crystal landtrustcnc org If you re interested in seeing one of these living fossils in person the N C Zoo in Asheboro has bowfin on exhibit Stop by and check them out and ponder all that the species has seen in their long existence and the physical characteristics that allowed them to persist We

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/story/ancient-bowfin-%E2%80%93-unique-fish (2016-02-18)
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  • Crystal Cockman | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    mussels tiny hitchhikers May 22 2014 North America has the highest diversity of mussels in the world Mussels depend on host fish for reproduction so they are also indicators of fish species health Photo Crystal Cockman Parasitic plants May 07 2014 The term parasite may evoke an ugly nuisance even a gruesome horror story from common ticks and chiggers to the botfly which can embed itself in a human eyeball But parasitic plants can be beautiful Photo Crystal Cockman Land trust to host second Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend Apr 03 2014 The LandTrust for Central North Carolina and staff from the North Carolina Museum of Sciences will host the second annual Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend on May 10 and 11 2014 Photo Crystal Cockman Black bears in the North Carolina Piedmont Mar 20 2014 Although bear sightings in the Piedmont are not uncommon they are usually just transient bears Black bears are gradually expanding their habitat into the Piedmont region however and their range now extends over 60 percent of North Carolina Photo LandTrust for Central North Carolina Backpacking basics and the 2014 Uwharrie Trail thru hike Mar 05 2014 Thanks to more than 15 years of conservation work the Uwharrie Recreational Trail trail can now be hiked in its 40 mile entirety The second annual thru hike of the trail will be this May Do you have your backpacking basics assembled Here s my list of necessities Photo Crystal Cockman Creepy crawly bone cleaners Feb 06 2014 The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has an area where you can watch scientists at work behind glass They also have a couple of glass displays housing much smaller workers dermestid beetles These beetles have a job to do for the museum too Snowy owl invasion Dec 19 2013 Snowy owls

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/aboutus/contributors/crystal-cockman?page=1 (2016-02-18)
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  • Crystal Cockman | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    stories passed down through generations An upcoming hike and storytelling event will take you into these mountains for an evening filled with legends and ghost tales Photo Crystal Cockman Yellow fringed orchids Sep 05 2013 This wet summer has brought out a number of wildflowers we rarely see Recently I saw one of my favorites blooming en masse the yellow fringed orchid This beautiful wildflower blooms from late June to early September so they were just past peak but I managed to get a few nice photos Photo Crystal Cockman Uwharrie Trail from end to end Aug 08 2013 Thru hiking means going the complete distance on a long distance trail Thanks to the efforts of several organizations all 40 miles of the Uwharrie Trail can now be thru hiked Photo Crystal Cockman The strongest creature in the world Jul 10 2013 What is the strongest creature in the world Many would argue that it is the small non threatening rhinoceros beetle Photo Crystal Cockman Wildlife of the Rocky River the spiny softshell turtle Jun 27 2013 The Rocky River is home to some interesting critters you don t see in other parts of the central N C Piedmont One distinctive species is the Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle Photo J D Bricken A closer look at jumping spiders May 30 2013 Few critters face as much raw dislike and arbitrary revulsion as spiders In the children s book by E B White Charlotte s Web Wilbur learned that Charlotte was only doing as her nature dictated and would even prove a valuable friend Perhaps the book has softened the dislike of spiders for some children Photo Kevin Dick A walk in the woods May 15 2013 Have you ever wondered what you might see if you spent a whole

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/aboutus/contributors/crystal-cockman?page=2 (2016-02-18)
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  • Crystal Cockman | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    background Photo Jeff Beane A chorus of frogs Feb 12 2013 The recent wet weather and warmer temperatures must have been a cue for the upland chorus frogs that their breeding season has arrived as they were calling loudly from the small stream at my apartment complex Photo Jeff Beane The live oak Icon of the Old South Jan 29 2013 Driving around Ellerbe about 75 miles east of Charlotte a few weeks ago I noticed a tree I had not thought of before as growing in this region I was surprised I hadn t noted it earlier because these trees are remarkable with a strong and stocky trunk and long gnarly branches which seem Getting to know the Eastern Gray Squirrel Jan 08 2013 Although the New Year marks a new beginning in many ways it also means the end of at least one popular activity in North Carolina as deer season has now officially come to a close This is certainly a bittersweet reality for avid hunters and huntresses everywhere as the past few months many of For wildlife winter can be the lean season Dec 11 2012 Winter is a tough time for many animals Wildlife that rely on natural food sources such as seeds and berries may find themselves having a harder time finding a meal as spring and summertime supplies grow leaner and leaner In these cold and slim months our resident birds in particular can Trout fishing in the fall Nov 28 2012 There s really nothing quite like trout fishing for immersing yourself in nature and becoming part of the landscape Cool mountain waters swirl around your feet as you gingerly pick your way along a stream bottom of smooth stones in hues of copper slate and ebony Whether fly fishing or Charlotte

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/aboutus/contributors/crystal-cockman?page=3 (2016-02-18)
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  • Crystal Cockman | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    version of milkweed is considerably taller and instead of North America s smallest falcon Sep 05 2012 Saturday s opening of dove season brings to mind a stunning bird of prey that closely resembles the mourning dove in size the American kestrel The American kestrel Falco sparverius may be the smallest of all North American falcons but don t be fooled by its small stature it Crane fly orchid Nature s Plain Jane flower Aug 22 2012 While walking on my grandparents property last week I was fortunate to stumble upon one of the most common and understated orchids in bloom the Crane fly orchid Tipularia discolor We typically think of orchids as something rare and eye catching with vibrant colors that stand out Unlikely habitat for a unique herptile Aug 07 2012 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 Royal serpents Jul 25 2012 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 Little known fund conserves some treasured places Jun 26 2012 Where are you going this year for the Fourth of July Hiking Western North Carolina s Mount Mitchell the highest peak east of the Mississippi Camping in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area of the Pisgah National Forest Maybe you ll spend the day trout fishing in the Great Smoky Conserving the places you will

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/aboutus/contributors/crystal-cockman?page=4 (2016-02-18)
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  • Crystal Cockman | UNC Charlotte Urban Institute | UNC Charlotte
    included in this burn area and a main reason for this burn was to promote a particularly interesting species The orchids in nature s flower garden Apr 18 2012 I carry around a photo book of pictures I ve taken of wildflowers of every size shape and variety everything from rare roadside sunflowers to striking orange Indian paintbrush to tiny and common cranefly orchids Walking in the woods means a pause every now and then to see what Orienteering Not all who wander are lost Apr 03 2012 If you enjoy hiking being outdoors reading maps and being challenged to think quickly and solve problems then orienteering might be the sport for you Although traversing the woods with only a map and compass may sound like an activity that requires extensive experience and years of training Hum s the word Mar 21 2012 One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on the front porch of my grandparents house gentle breeze blowing sweet tea in hand listening to the buzz and flight of hummingbirds as they gracefully sipped sugar water from bright red feeders Sometimes there d be more than a Low Water Bridge recreational access improvements Mar 05 2012 If you ve driven by the Low Water Bridge recently you probably have seen a good bit of bulldozer activity and wondered what exactly was happening to this beautiful natural area The work is being undertaken with a promising objective in mind The LandTrust of Central N C is A hot little plant in spring Feb 22 2012 I was surprised this week to see trout lilies nearly in bloom This seems early for them to be out I love their shiny green and brown speckled leaves reminiscent of the native book trout that gives them their name I always

    Original URL path: http://ui.uncc.edu/aboutus/contributors/crystal-cockman?page=5 (2016-02-18)
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