Story and photos by Holly Marcus, contributor For insects, animals and humans, it’s the first…
Bundled in a heavy coat, a woman sits in a picnic shelter at Hillandale Park. Five large, healthy cats dine on plates of cat food scattered around her. She and several other caretakers come twice a day to feed these “homeless” cats, as she calls them. She doesn’t want to be identified; she’s been hassled over the years for doing this.
After Bridgeforth Stadium, it’s possibly the most recognizable landmark for those driving through Harrisonburg on Interstate 81. The 120-foot wind turbine is perched on a ridge on the east side of the highway, its spinning, 33-foot blades propelled by the invisible breeze. What can’t be seen from the road is the force behind that specific turbine – a renewable energy advocacy organization that calls Harrisonburg home.
“Sometimes the forecast is a big bust, like the horrible snow we got in December,” Urbanowicz recalled. “There was a 15-inch difference in the snow totals within forty miles. That’s the humbling part of being a meteorologist. You’re still trying to predict the future.”
Snowy Owls, flamingos — you never know what kind of birds you might encounter in the Shenandoah Valley. However, on the eve of the annual Rockingham County Christmas Bird Count, a group of eagle-eyed bird watchers have a pretty good idea of which ones have been through the area — for now.