The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Opinion

April 28, 2013

Scott Underwood: Reflections on weather and wildlife

ANDERSON, Ind. — Random thoughts on a rainy spring day while waiting for the electricity in my neighborhood to come back on:

The weather this spring has been strange ­­— wild swings in precipitation and temperature — and the impact on morel mushrooms is unclear. I was just in the woods near my house, snooping around. Puddles of water stood in normally dry areas, and the undergrowth was about two weeks behind where it would generally be in late April.

I didn’t find a single morel in two hours of hunting. ...

In the past two weeks, I’ve seen a red fox and a coyote, both along Indiana 67 near the Madison-Delaware county line.

The fox was in a yard close to Daleville, anxiously waiting for a gap in traffic so that he could cross the highway. A few days later, the coyote crossed the highway in front of my car and leaped with remarkable agility over a fence row before disappearing in a tree line. ...

Contributors to The Herald Bulletin’s reader photo galleries online (www.heraldbulletin.smugmug.com) have populated the site with shots of local wildlife, particularly birds. These include at least one image of a bald eagle seen in Madison County!

Woodpeckers are also a popular photo topic in the reader galleries. One shot of a pileated woodpecker with a gorgeous red crest called to mind a pileated I saw a couple of years ago while mowing my lawn. I caught a glimpse of it in a pine tree, then stopped the mower and walked over to investigate. The woodpecker flew out of the tree, passing within 20 feet of me. Then it was gone, and I have not seen another pileated in my neighborhood since. ...

The electricity is still off, and I’m hustling to get this column finished before the battery on my laptop loses its charge. It’s amazing how dependent on electricity we have become. But laptops, smart phones and other mobile devices (before their batteries run down) provide a way of staying connected with the outside world during power outages. ...

Rain in recent weeks has played havoc with local sports. Baseball and softball, for example, are wonderful sports to play or watch when it’s warm and sunny. But rain, cold and wind can render playing or watching miserable. And, of course, too much rain leads to postponements, throwing families’ schedules into disarray. ...

Practicing newspaper journalism can be both highly gratifying and frustrating. In The Herald Bulletin newsroom, we’ve had both experiences recently.

A week ago, we received 17 awards, including five first places, in the annual Indiana Society of Professional Journalists contest. That’s gratifying.

But then, we’ve made some silly mistakes recently, as well. We spelled the country Chile like the food “chili” in a recent headline and article. And we wrote of a “stirring wheel” instead of a “steering wheel” in a recent photo caption. That’s frustrating. ...

Just as I write this, the electricity has come back on, perhaps symbolic of a light at the end of the tunnel!

Editor Scott Underwood’s column appears Mondays. Follow him on Twitter @THBeditor and like page his professional Facebook page. Contact him at 640-4845 and scott.underwood@heraldbulletin.com.

 

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