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Friday, May 25, 2018

Tenth Grade Angst Comes Out (Blog 392)

Thursday when I came home from Lord Botetourt High School where I teach, a box of books was on our stoop. My eight book overall, and second Young Adult fiction novel, Tenth Grade Angst is now out. After all these years as an outdoor writer/photgrapher, it feels weird to now also be writing fiction for high school students.

I'm half way through the third book in the series, Eleventh Grade Stress, which I hope to finish this summer and have my Creative Writing students proof in the fall, just as they did for the tenth grade book and the first in the series, Ninth Grade Blues.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ingram on Western Virginia PBS Channels (Blog 391)

Just a little note that I will be interviewed on the western Virginia PBS series Write Around the Corner on Thursday night at 7:30. The show was originally on Tuesday night and this is a rerun. The show is about my writing career and also covers how Elaine and I met and how my students at Lord Botetourt High School helped me write and edit my first two Young Adult Fiction novels, Ninth Grade Blues and Tenth Grade Angst.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Interesting Morning on the Last Day of West Virginia's Turkey Season (Blog 391)

I didn't see or hear any turkeys, or even spot any fresh sign, on the last day of West Virginia's spring gobbler season. And both my tags for that state went unused.

Still, as always, there are always things to marvel about in the spring woods. I was hunting at over 3,200 feet in the mountains of my Monroe County land, so I was able to listen to a rose-breasted grosbeak singing for several hours. I kept scanning the tree tops to see him, but no luck for the longest time. 

Then, finally, the male materialized just 20 or so yards away and warbled his robin-like tune. The red patch on his breast was dazzling.

I had heard the distress sounds of a raven for most of the morning, so when walking out of the woods to go home, I decided to see what the bird's issue was.  I walked right under the raven's perch.  The bird was only about 10 yards from me, the closest I have ever been to a raven. The bird was struggling to remain on its perch, so something was clearly wrong. I was surprised that the avian let me come so close, again, indicating that something was wrong.

So my turkey hunting is over in Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia for the season. Next weekend, I am floating the James River.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Barred Owls Battle in West Virginia's Spring Gobbler Woods (Blog 390)

After tagging out in Virginia, I've turned to spring gobbler hunting in West Virginia. This past Sunday, I was making barred owl sounds, and four of these owls came flying in to my sounds.

They created quite a ruckus, and I saw no need to call further and decided to watch how the owls interacted. To my surprise, two of them attacked each other in mid-air and tumbled to the ground fighting. Then a third owl flew in to where the two were jousting on the ground.

I could not see which owl won the ground battle, but, to my chagrin, all of that hooting awakened nary a gobbler.  I went home empty handed, but it was a fascinating morning.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring Gobbler Success in Virginia Woods (Blog 389)

Friday, I took a vacation day from school and hunted my best Botetourt County farm and though I heard five gobblers, I also heard and saw hens. Saturday, I hunted another really good place and heard three toms off our land in the Sinking Creek Valley of Craig County. Sunday, I went to the best farm I have permission to hunt, one in Franklin County.  And never came close to killing a bird.

With my having to be at school on Monday morning by 8:45, I almost decided not to go. But, ultimately, I did and a tom came charging in to position, not long after he flew down from the roost. The gobbler and I were back home by around 7:00 A.M., time for Elaine to take pictures of the bird and me, and for me to clean him.

Spring gobbler hunting is full of little ironies, and such was the case again. Three days when I had to noon to hunt and never came close to punching a tag, and then on a short hunt before school, I tagged a tom quickly. Since I killed two VA birds in the fall, I am now tagged out in my home state. Saturday, I will go afield in West Virginia.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Virginia Gobblers Uncooperative, but Songbirds Are Returning (Blog 388)

I continued to struggle while turkey hunting this week. I have now been out seven times either on weekends or before school and have not yet seen a gobbler except for one that was about 100 yards away. The typical outing goes like the following: hear toms on the roost, they gobble a little, then they depart with their hens for parts unknown.

The songbird watching and listening has been great, though.  Whip-poor-wills and chuck-wills-widows returned this week as did scarlet tanagers, worm-eating warblers, and ovenbirds. Fascinatingly, a worm-eating warbler came within about five yards of me, and I watched it hopping about the forest floor looking for bugs.

The turkey hunting should improve soon, once more hens go to lay their eggs.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Spring Gobbler Opening day in Virginia (Blog 387)

Opening day in Virginia was today, and it was very uneventful for me. With brisk winds, warm weather, and humidity, I was not optimistic there would be much gobbling on the Franklin County farm I was afield on.

Unfortunately, I was correct in my predictions on how the day would be. I didn't hear my first gobble until 9:15, and it was in response to a crow call. I only heard two more the rest of the day, one in answer to the crow call and a random gobble in mid-morning.

Disappointed for sure, but I'm not depressed about it. Sooner or later, the birds will turn on, and then the excitement will begin.