A humdinger winter for hummers

Whatever the reasons we in North Carolina are seeing more hummingbirds in the winter, it is a treat for those of us who love watching the amazing little birds. What better way to get through the cold, gray days of winter than to put up a hummingbird feeder and enjoy their antics!  
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Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is topic of radio show...WITH AUDIO

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum was the topic of the April 3 edition of the Radio.

 Hatteras interview show, "To the Point." The guests were Joseph Schwarzer, executive director of the North Carolina Maritime Museums, and Mary Ellen Riddle, education curator at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village.

They talked about the museum in Hatteras village, which showcases the maritime history, culture, and heritage of the Outer Banks through the stories of the many ships that have wrecked on the dangerous offshore shoals known to all as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  
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Cancer Foundation's annual dance was just the 'bee's knees'...WITH SLIDE SHOW

The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation's annual Spring Dance this year was not only the bee's knees, it was the berries.  The Cat's Meow.  And just swell. About 150 gals and their daddies showed up to enjoy Saturday evening, April 11, in Roaring Twenties style while raising money to help Hatteras Island cancer patients.  
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A primer on seismic testing

One of the flashpoints in the debate over developing possible offshore oil and gas centers on seismic surveying, an effective but controversial method used in the search for energy deposits. Three public meetings have been scheduled this month about using “air guns” off the N.C. coast. The first was earlier this week in Wilmington, the second is today in Morehead City, and the last one is on Monday, April 27, in Kill Devil Hills.

Here’s a primer to help you understand what all the noise is about.  
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The Scotch bonnet's 50th anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Scotch bonnet as North Carolina’s official state shell. For a state with one of the longest coastlines on the Eastern Seaboard, it makes sense that it was the first to have its own shell. Unfortunately, the lovely gastropod — snail, that is — is notoriously difficult to find on most of its beaches, except for the Outer Banks.

Perhaps then it’s no surprise that the bill to make the Scotch bonnet the state shell was introduced in 1965 by an Outer Banker, Rep. Moncie Daniels, who lived in Dare County.
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Hatteras Storytelling Festival is topic of radio interview

The  third annual Hatteras Storytelling Festival, which will be on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, at the Hatteras Village Civic Center, was the topic of the April 5 edition of  the "To the Point" interview show on Radio Hatteras.

The guests for the interview were Belinda Willis, who is co-chair of the festival with Tracy Shisler, and Danny Couch, a well-known Hatteras Island historian, who has been known to spin a few yarns of his own.  He's a featured storyteller at this year's festival. 
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The Night Sky:  A new evening star and a meteor shower for April

March proved tough for astrophotography on Hatteras Island.  Much of it was cold and cloudy.  Columnist Gerry Lebing can  remember only one or two clear nights, so much of his observing was done trying to see through a slightly overcast sky.   But he did get some very good views of the night skies!

And in April, we can look forward to a new evening star and a meteor shower
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Saltwater intrusion is changing the coast

While the ocean is knocking at the front door of some beachfront homes and hotels in North Carolina, the forests across the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds are retreating from the shoreline.

They’re being driven back by saltwater. It’s seeping into the soil and surface waters of the coastal plain. What scientists call “saltwater intrusion” has been going on since the oceans began rising when great ice sheets started melting 20,000 years ago. But salt’s slow movement inland has accelerated in recent years, those scientists say.  
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What causes whale and dolphin strandings along the coast?

It was not a pretty sight for David Mickey and Sue Dayton the fall day they came upon a large dark object on the Ocracoke beach. Walking closer, they identified what they had spotted as a dead bottlenose dolphin.

Disturbed, they called the Marine Mammal Stranding coordinator for North Carolina’s central coast, Vicky Thayer. She came to the island and, with Mickey’s assistance, performed a necropsy on the animal. Mickey and Dayton had just moved to Ocracoke and this was their introduction to the series of dolphin strandings in mid-Atlantic waters last year. Over the next couple months, two more dolphins would be found stranded on the island.

There are many reason why marine mammals beach themselves, Thayer explained. "People want a simple answer, but it’s not that easy,” she said.
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The Bear Lady:  Her life and mysterious death

In the end, the Bear Lady has been returned to the place she had shared for 25 years with her beloved bears.

Kay Grayson, famous for the controversial practice of feeding the black bears that lived in the tangled woods surrounding her trailer, was discovered dead in late January, her remains scattered along a logging road near her rural Tyrrell County home. Her body was cremated, said her niece Susan Clippinger, and her ashes were buried on her property.

“Hopefully,” Clippinger said, “she is where she would want to be.”
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Dare County Animal Shelter:  A recycling center for feral cats?

Dare County Manager Bobby Outten recently received a call asking if there was available county property where a feral cat colony could be moved because a Hatteras Island restaurant wanted it removed from its property.

“I explained that we don't have property that could be used for that,” said Outten. “And I don't know how you could keep them on a piece of property without putting up fencing around and over them.”

The restaurant's dilemma illustrates a growing problem with feral cats on Hatteras Island -- and in all of Dare County.  And it's a problem that has been exacerbated by the county's own animal control program.  
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Helping Hatteras Island cancer patients is topic of radio show....WITH AUDIO

Judy Banks and Sydnee Slaughter of the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, which is in its 15th year of helping island cancer patients pay their medical bills not covered by insurance and the costs of travel for treatment, were the guests on this week's edition of "To the Point" on Radio Hatteras.

Since its inception, the Cancer Foundation has awarded grants for medical care and travel to 128 Hatteras islanders.  The grants have totaled $540,000. Learn more about the foundation, how it helps patients, and how you can help in this interview.
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With love, Aleta:  Remembering Ocracoke's famous mailboat

“We always waited for the mailboat to come in. That was something that we enjoyed, going and seeing the people who were on it, because it carried some passengers and also some freight for the island people and for the stores. We enjoyed doing it just to get away from home and see what we would get that evening in the mailbox,” recalls Della Gaskill, remembering when she was a girl growing up at Ocracoke.

Today Ocracoke’s beloved mailboat, the Aleta, lies at the bottom of the South River in mainland  North Carolina, no doubt providing a fine habitat for fish and other marine life.  She lives on, however, in the memories of those who once peopled her decks as they traveled to and from Ocracoke or gathered on the dock to greet her, collect their mail, and welcome the passengers she carried. She lives on in books that describe her short but memorable history, and now she is the focus of a new exhibit at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village.
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Arctic Seals appearance on North Carolina beaches is a puzzling....WITH VIDEO

A mix of seal species is appearing on North Carolina beaches with more and more frequency, but no one knows why. Could it be a consequence of a changing climate? One Duke University scientist is determined to find out.
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GeeGee Rosell talks about new community reading program in radio interview...WITH AUDIO

GeeGee Rosell, owner of Buxton Village Books, was the guest on the on the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, Feb. 1. In the interview, Rossell talks about the new community reading program that she is sponsoring with Radio Hatteras.  The program is called "Hatteras Island Reads." 
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The plasticized ocean threatens marine environment

Off the coast of North Carolina lies what is known as the North Atlantic Gyre. It’s a large system of rotating ocean currents, often driven by strong winds, that’s centered near Bermuda. It includes the Sargasso Sea and the Gulf Stream. Within its center, drawn in by the currents, lies what Lisa Rider, coordinator of the N.C. Marine Debris Symposium, describes as a plastic soup. This floating mass of plastic is not the only area of North Carolina waters that is awash with plastic pollution, however. The waters in our sounds and rivers are also filled with plastic debris, she said.

The plastic pollution is a huge and ever-increasing problem threatening North Carolina’s marine environment.  
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