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Virginia Capital Trail celebrates five years with month-long celebration encouraging everyone to get outside

The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, which celebrated its 5th Birthday on October 2nd, invites walkers, runners, and bikers to complete outdoor activities, exploring sites along the Trail, and earning virtual badges that unlock educational facts about the Virginia Capital Trail.

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The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, which celebrated its 5th Birthday on October 2nd, invites walkers, runners, and bikers to complete outdoor activities, exploring sites along the Trail, and earning virtual badges that unlock educational facts about the Virginia Capital Trail.

In celebration of the Capital Trail’s fifth anniversary, participants will have the opportunity to select five out of eight exciting activities to complete between October 1st and 31st. Each activity will inspire participants to explore and experience the Capital Trail in a new way. Trail users are encouraged to challenge their friends and Trail friends for added fun!

“The Virginia Capital Trail is a wonderful recreational and transportation asset to our local communities and region. We are extremely excited to launch this engaging event in celebration of the Virginia Capital Trail’s 5th Anniversary,” shares Cat Anthony, executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail. “This is a great opportunity to introduce the Capital Trail to new visitors, showcase its impact, encourage outdoor recreation, and celebrate not only the Virginia Capital Trail but our amazing Trail community.”

For more information, click here.

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Outdoors

Photos: Eagles on the James

We got up early Saturday and joined Capt. Mike’s Discover the James Tours. We were lucky enough to see eagles, lots of eagles.

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Capt. Mike runs the Discover the James tours and on our expedition, we saw around 15 different eagles. There are quite a few nesting pairs that have staked out their territory along the James and this time of year there is an almost equal number of transitory eagles in the same area.

The James River runs through it … through the City of Richmond and just minutes downriver is an incredible opportunity to see resident bald eagles in their natural habitat. This 3-hour, pontoon boat tour takes you into the midst of an ecosystem rich with wildlife, history and beautiful scenery. Discover the James’ Bald Eagle Tour takes you through an six-mile stretch of the James River known as Jefferson’s Reach, encompassing eight territories of resident bald eagles.

The tour focuses on the sixteen resident bald eagles in Jefferson’s Reach. Resident eagles do not migrate and live within their territories all year long. During the year, two additional populations of bald eagles migrate into the area. In May, summer migratory bald eagles, from the south (mainly Florida), arrive and these eagles are gone by the end of September. In mid November, winter migratory eagles arrive from the north and stay into February, then begin their departure, returning to their breeding grounds.

The tour is currently operating under Covid-19 restrictions and limiting the number of folks on each tour and masks are required. More information on Facebook and here.

Eagles aren’t the only bird you’ll see.

This is Bandit and she has an amazing story of survival.

Read more about Bandit (aka Dolly) here.

Bandit enjoying lunch.

The wingspan of an adult Bald Eagle can reach 7.5 feet.

A juvenile Bald Eagle. It takes about 5 years to get full adult plumage.

 

A few more Bald Eagle facts from Cornell Lab.

  • Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy. See an example here.
  • Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds. “For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”
  • Sometimes even the national bird has to cut loose. Bald Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys. One observer witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair.
  • The largest Bald Eagle nest on record, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall. Another famous nest—in Vermilion, Ohio—was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.
  • Immature Bald Eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day. Some young birds from Florida have wandered north as far as Michigan, and birds from California have reached Alaska.
  • Bald Eagles occasionally hunt cooperatively, with one individual flushing prey towards another.
  • Bald Eagles can live a long time. The oldest recorded bird in the wild was at least 38 years old when it was hit and killed by a car in New York in 2015. It had been banded in the same state in 1977.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




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Photos: Surfing Z Dam

Floodwaters bring out the skilled river riders to take to the waves at Z Dam. These photos were shot Saturday afternoon.

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Photos: An Angry James

The James was running at about 19 feet above flood stage on Friday. Here are a few snapshots.

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Training not rescuing

Training not rescuing

Training not rescuing

Training not rescuing

Wetlands living up to its name

Wetlands living up to its name

Wetlands living up to its name

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