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Articles by Dotty Holcomb Doherty

Our family visits make us ­reconcile good and evil
 

Once more this year, my family and I spent part of the Christmas season in Germany. The tradition began because of my husband Jonathan’s good memories of the year his family lived in Munich, when he was 10.

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How to get to know our ­regulars and seasonal visitors

At the tip of Thomas Point in Annapolis on a windy November morning, Linda Davis sees buffleheads, horned grebes and a loon diving in the Bay’s chop.
    “I am just learning my birds,” says Davis, of Shady Side. “I had surgery last winter, so I put up feeders outside the window where I sat and saw all these birds I didn’t even know existed. Then I began photographing birds, and now it’s all I want to do.”
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Resources abound online and in nature to help you sharpen your birding skills. Here’s a short list, organized by key questions

Who?
    Find tips on birding basics plus how to identify birds by song and plumage at All About Birds: www.allaboutbirds.org.
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Go quietly, look and listen

The best part of the Bay is just that. The water. Some like to race across the waves, bow plowing through each crest, spray flying with each jolt. I prefer to slip my kayak into the shallows and paddle the edges.
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Grab your binoculars and start spotting

Cardinals devouring holly berries; nuthatches scooting down sweet gums; tundra swans hooting on the Bay. Get ready to count them all during the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 through 17.
    Citizen scientists all over the world count birds for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in conjunction with the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Developed over the four-day period is an annual snapshot of bird population trends.
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World Class; Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom, by J.C. Elkin

My students arrive in a dust storm of change. …    
their tongues in accents
lush as rustling crop leaves.

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The fall flocks arrive this month

Bird enthusiasts and hunters wait for them every fall. Flocking to the Chesapeake from the prairie pothole region of north-central United States, south-central to northern Canada and Alaska, the ducks arrive. They dabble in our coves and lend their voices to the symphony of winter, harmonizing with the sonorous hooting of tundra swans and geese.
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Would you walk 30 miles for the answer?

It won’t be the walkers who are sorest after Sunday, June 10’s two-day, 30-mile Chesapeake Challenge MS Walk. It will be the chalkers.
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Take children to the outdoors with these authors who evoke the magic and mystery of the natural world.

For wonder-filled, read-aloud picture books, look for author Jane Yolen. Her Caldecott-winning father-daughter tale, Owl Moon, should not be missed: “When you go owling, you don’t need words or warm or anything but hope.”
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Volunteer birders stalked their prey for five years to create the new Atlas of Breeding Birds in Maryland

New osprey heads are popping over edges of nests all over Chesapeake Country. Puffs of tiny brown Carolina wren fledglings erupt from our porches and shrubs, the second brood since April. Soon, beneath our feeders, cardinal babies, whose sprouts of downy feathers remind us of our own bad-hair days, will beg for food from their parents.
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