Drought Worsens, Shocking Decline in Bird Numbers, Blues Festival

We had a scant rain last night. At the weather station at Mercier’s, the recorded amount was 0.02. Basically, the drought has continued. The forecast shows a slight chance of rain for some days in the coming forecast window, but I’m not very hopeful. If you have any dogwoods that you care about, it would be a good idea to water them. Needless to say, the azaleas are suffering, too. In fact, everything out in the woods is stressed to the max, except perhaps the animals that can get to water.

There’s been a really shocking decline in bird numbers, an average of 30% over the last 50 years. Some beloved species, like the Baltimore Oriole, have declined almost 50%. Here’s a couple of articles on what amounts to a real crisis. Some of these have pay walls, but they allow you to read a certain number of articles per month. If you can’t see them, you might be able to get to them on another computer.




You’ll note in the AP chart that the only category that shows an increase is waterfowl (56%). This is due to the duck stamp and the efforts of Ducks Unlimited. Both funds are focused on the protection of critical habitat. Duck stamps are mandatory for duck hunters, and they are also purchased by aware birders. Federal Duck Stamps are conservation revenue stamps; 98 percent of the purchase price goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System. You can buy them online or at most post offices. Ducks Unlimited has conserved 14,478,372 acres so far in Canada, the US, and Mexico.

It was brutally hot when we were at the Blues Festival, to see Frankie’s Blues Mission. But the festival seemed a success, well run as always. We were especially glad to see that the problem had been solved of having the beer tents across the tracks from the music. This was accomplished simply by erecting a stage a bit to the south/west of the Arts Association on West Main Street. We must have missed last year, as I’m told that they had it last year as well. Rob Kaser came back from Texas to MC the event, surviving a bad auto accident along the way. It was good have him back, and we’re especially glad he’s OK. The lobster truck wasn’t there, so we opted for a rack of ribs from Mr. Nice Guy Barbecue, out of Marietta, which was excellent. The real highlight for me was the traditional “street dance” in front of the Depot the night before with the Buckner Brothers. John Buckner told me that his brother Max had come through a serious health crisis that week and that the gig was special to them for that reason. As always, they locked into the beat immediately and got a lot of folks up to dance. Great band.

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