VDGIF calendar a real page-turner

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

By Susan and Biff Andrews

What publication tells you the time of sunrise (and sunset) where you live — to the minute? Where can you learn the time of high and low tides — to the minute?

It also gives the solunar table prediction for the best and worst days of fishing. It also shows you a great photo of a white ibis this month and tells you all about its feeding, nesting and migration habits.

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It’s the Virginia Wildlife Calendar.

This publication, published by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, does all this and more. The daily times of tide and sunrise — and the tables to correct for your exact location — appear on each date, along with the fishing forecast. There are also facts about what is happening in the world of nature.

Yesterday, it said, “Monarch butterflies migrating.” Friday’s entry says, “Blackbirds are flocking up, feeding in croplands, and going to roost.” Saturday’s entry: “Dogwoods and sumac fruiting.” (Whatever that means).

We call these little nuggets of information “factoids.”

The calendar is larger than standard freebies sent out by the National Wildlife Federation or the Nature Conservancy, which is great for me, as we keep a written family calendar along with the one on the computer.

The information is highly localized — by lake or wildlife area — citing points on the Chesapeake Bay or a given hunting area. Some information is aimed only at deer hunters or turkey hunters; some is aimed just at smallmouth bass or spot fishermen. Much of it just targets nature lovers who want to know when hummingbirds migrate south.

It’s a perfect medley of factoids.

The photography for each month’s picture is beyond stunning. VDGIF, which also publishes the Virginia Wildlife Magazine, with its photo contests, wildlife paintings by Spike Knuth and his successors, and its information and informative articles, selects only the best shots for the calendar. They really are striking.

As the Sept. 2 entry on this calendar will tell you, Virginia Wildlife magazine was first published in 1937.That’s 80 years of great articles, photographs, paintings and … factoids.

Neither publication is free. Both the Virginia Wildlife magazine and the calendar list for $12.95 each per year, but somehow — perhaps because I have been a long-term subscriber — I never seem to pay that much.

The magazine can be ordered with a check to the Treasurer of Virginia at Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228-0778. The calendar can be ordered the same way at Virginia Wildlife Calendar at the same address.

Let’s review: Highly attractive, highly factual, highly informative. For hunters, fishermen, naturalists and anybody who loves nature.

And it makes a great gift.

Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at b.andrews22@live.com.