American bald eagle flies over Shenandoah River State Park

This eagle was flying over the Shenandoah River near the low water bridge south of the park at 2:11 pm today. After it flew up the river deeper into Shenandoah River State Park I drove to the three bends overlook and waited for about half an hour but didn’t see it return. – Dan McDermott

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Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 2:37 pm  Comments (11)  

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Endangered Virginia big-eared bats to be housed in Front Royal

Little brown bat at Greeley Mine, Vermont, with white-nose syndrome, March 26, 2009. Photo: Marvin Moriarty/USFWS.

USFWS announces grant to to capture healthy bats threatened by deadly fungus

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Front Royal, VA–Oct. 26, 2009–The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced today a $322,000 grant to the Smithsonian Institute’s National Zoo to fund the creation of a permanent secure colony of endangered Virginia big-eared bats at the zoo’s Front Royal, VA-based Conservation and Research Center.

The goal is to establish a healthy population of the bats while scientists work to stop a deadly fungus that threatens the entire species.

According to the USFWS, White-Nose syndrome was first documented near Albany, NY in Feb. 2006 when a caver photographed hibernating bats behaving erratically, many with a strange white substance on their muzzles. Some of the bats had died.

Dr. Jeremy Coleman, endangered species biologist and the USFWS National White-Nose Syndrome Coordinator, said that while it is common for mammals to develop fungal infections, it is very unusual for them to be fatal to a species. Coleman said that some bat species can live for up to 20 years in the wild and reproduce slowly so diseases can have a devastating effect on an already threatened species.

Indirect mortality

CRC staff veterinarian Luis Padilla said that scientists are still trying to determine if the fungus is indeed the pathogen that is causing the deaths of colonies of bats from New England to Virginia and West Virginia. “The fungus leads to their deaths indirectly. The problem is that the fungus irritates them and they are more active during times of normal hibernation. Since it is the winter, there are not the usual food sources available to them and they actually die of starvation,” he said. Padilla said that bats who survive the winter often awake in the spring with wings that have been partially eaten away by the fungus, effecting their flight and further impacting their chances of survival.

Padilla said that the captured bats will be screened for several diseases and healthy specimens will be housed in a building at the CRC that will allow them to be totally secure from other bats to prevent their becoming infected. He said that the goal is to protect a colony and their unique genes in the event the species is wiped out in the wild before a cause and cure for the fungus is found. Padilla also plans to establish protocols and capture techniques through the effort.

USFWS West VA Lead Biologist for VA Big-Eared Bats Barb Douglas said there are about 15,000 big-eared bats remaining in four segments in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The largest segment is in West VA where the CRC bats will be captured. Other species are threatened by the fungus, including the little brown bat which numbers in the millions and is not considered endangered.

Bat infections have been reported in NH, VT, NY, MA, CT, NJ, PA, WV and VA.

The CRC award was one of 6 grants announced today totalling $800,000 from the service’s “Preventing Extinction” fund.

More information:


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Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Area woman may be featured on national reality show

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Rumors abound that former model Michaele Salahi, wife of Tareq Salai of Oasis Winery, is being taped for the upcoming Bravo show Real Housewives of D.C., the latest installment of the network’s hit reality TV franchise.

Michaele has a Facebook fan page and tweets but was mum about the Real Housewives speculation in a recent Digital City interview. She did however offer some fashion tips last year to Washingtonian Magazine.

This newspaper and local officials were contacted today by Access Hollywood. Production is currently underway according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Oasis Winery’s home page is announcing a grand re-openingĀ  in 2010 following a feud involving Tareq Salahi, his parents and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

According to the couple’s Youtube page, their 2002 wedding required 186 Catering Food Servers, 50 Bartenders, 46 Chefs, 30 Fauquier County Police Officers, 4 Virginia State Police Units, 198 Cases of Champagne, the Oasis Yacht, US Marshalls & State Dept. Security, 15 Official photographers, 8 Video crews, One Camera Man standing on a Construction Crane 300 feet above the Cathedral, One Helicopter, 2 US Park Police Mounted Officers and a 6 Horse White Cinderella Chariot

186 Catering Food Servers
36,000 square feet of Tenting including tented hallways to/from every conceivable point at Oasis
50 Bar tenders serving wine from multiple wine bar locations
46 Chefs including sous chefs
30 Fauquier County Police Officers
4 Virginia State Police Units at various points
198 Cases of Champagne Consumed ( including during rehearsal dinner)
Oasis Yacht used to transport guests to the Mt. Vernon Inn ( Home of George Washington) for rehearsal dinner on Mt. Vernon Estates
US Marshalls & State Dept. Security throughout for special guests in attendance not named
15 Official photographers to capture all various moments
8 Video cameras with full film crew/sound team
Two Camera Booms
One Camera Jib on 30 foot crane
One Camera Man standing on a Construction Crane 300 feet above the Cathedral
One Helicopter for pre-filming at Oasis
2 US Park Police Mounted Officers on horseback to control Street flow traffic and stop traffic.
6 Horse White Cinderella Chariot
Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm  Comments (4)  

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