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October 2012

Tagged with a transmitter, one bird’s migration ends in tragedy, mystery

Researcher Rob Bierregaard and his team climb into nests to tag East Coast osprey with radio transmitters. This fall, 11 birds are carrying transmitters that enable Bierregaard to track their every move.     Birds have strong individual idiosyncrasies in their migration. Yet laid atop one another the migration lines form a clear pattern: East Coast Birds cling to that coast all the way down through Florida.

Lothian Ruritan Club celebrates 60 years helping the community

Andrew Dennis of Shady Side knew he wanted to go to college. He didn’t know how he was going to manage the costs. As a senior at Southern High School thriving in his welding class, Andrew went on the hunt for scholarships. He found his way to college with the Lothian Ruritan Club, which awards $8,000 in scholarships evenly to eight graduating seniors every year.

You meet them in newspapers and boatsheds, street corners and museums

It is a good thing that we live in Chesapeake Country, not Pagford. Muggles muddle into miserable messes in the scenic village of J.K. Rowling’s first novel set outside the world of wizardry. A teen antihero whose only value is trying to live authentically gets into particularly nasty trouble.     Maybe living authentically is not one of those things you can achieve by trying. If you trust the lessons of fiction in general or, in particular, Rowling’s Casual Vacancy.

Not even death can stand up to the power of love and a few thousand volts

Young science prodigy Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan: Blue Bloods) has one friend in the world: his faithful pup Sparky. They spend their days together making movies, hanging out in Victor’s attic workshop and playing ball in the yard.

The consequences of a moment last a lifetime

Remember the worst thing you ever said, the words you wish you could take back? The worst thing you ever, the act you wish you could undo? Of course we do, which is why Athol Fugard’s award-winning Master Harold … and the boys is so riveting.

From festivals to pancakes, this squash delivers

The Dish this week features the orange orb belonging to the squash family, not Linus Van Pelt’s mythical creature. Useful both for food and fun, the pumpkin is an icon of fall and a symbol of the end of the harvest.     Pick your own at a patch such as Knightongale Farm in Harwood, where owner Joel Greenwell commits 10 percent of his 90 acres to pumpkins.

Compost needs air and water

I heard a garden advisor on radio tell his listeners to compost their leaves in plastic bags rather than placing them on the curb for pick-up by the municipality. Put the leaves in the plastic bag and dump in a pitcher of warm water with two to three packages of bakers yeast dissolved in the liquid, he advised.     I hope no one listened.     Composting is an aerobic process. The organisms involved are bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes. There are no yeasts in the composting process.

A thin crescent straddles either edge of darkness

The moon wanes in pre-dawn skies  through the weekend. Friday and Saturday the last of the crescent moon hovers just a few degrees below brilliant Venus. Even without the moon, you should have no trouble finding this morning star, as it is the brightest light in the sky besides the sun and moon. The next-brightest object is the star Regulus, the heart of Leo the lion, within 10 degrees of Venus, although the two are fast pulling away from one another.

Sometimes it’s catching

It was a few minutes past sundown, but the failing light still burnished the water’s surface, making it glow like molten metal. What little wind there had been had died, leaving the water flat. Conditions were perfect for top-water fishing. But it was late. If the fish were going to show, they had better come soon.