Beach Bites

BY staff

The majestic great blue heron unveiled

Wading on long stork-like legs with red-brown tints on the thigh the gray sleek neck of the Great Blue Heron hunches over the marshy waters patiently waiting for a fish. Great Blue Herons are members of the Ardeidae family as are other herons and are common in the Wilmington area. With a head-to-tail length of 91-140 centimeters the Great Blue is the largest North American heron. Its wingspan reaches 167 to more than 200 centimeters and it can weigh up to eight pounds.

Great Blue Herons diets consists mostly of fish. However they often eat small amphibians reptiles rodents and insects. They eat their prey whole which leads to occasional choking. Because of their size Great Blues can hunt in deeper waters which provide food sources not available to other heron species.

Local Blue Heron enthusiast and UNCW creative writing professor David Gessner says that “although they are so common they seem to have an air of mystique to them.” An interesting aspect of the Blue Heron is the sound of their croak. “Their vocalizations are deep and guttural and always bring to mind what I imagine a pterodactyl might have sounded like. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America describes the call as very deep hoarse trumpeting or croaking fraaahnk ” says Matthew Collogan environmental education program manager at Airlie Gardens.

In the warm summer months herons can be spotted wading on the oceans shoreline or hunting in the wetlands or off area docks. Their breeding period occurs in the spring. Although herons are typically solitary hunters they are communal nesters nesting in large colonies called heronries. Heronries are composed of two pairs to hundreds of pairs of herons which helps lead to genetic diversity within the species. Female herons usually lay two to six pale blue eggs. Coastal southeastern North Carolina has year-round populations of at least six different herons and egrets says Collogan. “In the winter time we do sometimes see an influx of herons and egrets passing through the area from more northerly summer grounds. New Hanover County is directly on the Atlantic Flyway which is the equivalent of I-95 for bird traffic on the east coast ” he says. Ashley Peel

Finding motivation

Three of us have decided that 2011 is the year fitness needs to become a priority in our lives and weve enlisted some area experts to help us in our transformation challenge. Check back with us in June to see how weve have progressed.

Name: Pat Bradford
Occupation: Editor/Publisher Wrightsville Beach Magazine & Lumina News
Age: 57
Beginning weight: my goal weight plus 25 pounds
Pats motivation: I was tired of feeling tired. I needed more energy to keep up with my busy lifestyle and the kids I do volunteer work with.
Pats goals: I was a ski instructor 30 years ago and have been pretty athletic all my life but this last 10 years Ive not done much to keep that up. I had no idea how seriously out of shape I had gotten. I want to down hill ski before the season ends.
Trainer: LaMaine Williams Lumina Fitness
LaMaines Plan of action: “We will reach our goal by cross training which will work the body in a lot of different ways; changing from one element of fitness to the next never allowing the body to get comfortable. This makes the body work harder. We will work on building muscle muscle endurance cardio conditioning agility and flexibility. Every workout will be different. We will set short term goals as well as long term goals. I want to bring out the athleticism that I know Pat has.”

Name: Marimar McNaughton
Occupation: Homes Editor Wrightsville Beach Magazine and Managing Editor Lumina News
Age: 55
Beginning weight: Twice as much as it should be for my height: 5 1″
Motivation: Ive struggled with a curved spine and a pelvic tilt since my teenage years. Now that my metabolism has all but stopped Ive gained 10 pounds for every year Ive worked here (4.5 years). The sedentary nature of the work plus the constant deadlines have thrown my body into stress mode packing pounds on a bone structure that is already weakened. Im out of whack and I need more balance in my life. Being able to step away from the desk and the deadlines to go to the gym for an hour is the first step toward restoring my well being. Having a boss that recognizes this is a bonus.
goals: To lose at least 50 pounds during a six month period and to stand-up paddle board in summer 2011.
Trainer: Nick Kentrolis The Crest
Nicks plan of action: “First thing were doing is getting Marimars body moving on a regular basis and were putting her on a proper nutrition program that is based on her current weight body-fat percentage basal metabolic rate and most importantly her exercise routine. The more she exercises the more she needs to eat. Her workout is going to consist of exercises that work compound muscle groups instead of isolating individual muscle groups. Were using the theory of progressive overload to get her back into shape.”

Name: Patricia E. Matson
Occupation: Staff Writer Lumina News
Age: 44
Beginning weight: Im twice the woman Id like to be.
Trishs motivation: I want to feel healthier look better and have more energy and endurance.
goals: I want to lose at least 50 pounds and hopefully more. I want to be more active in general and be able to try more demanding activities from dancing to outdoor sports without getting tired or short of breath.
Trainer: Brian Bohrer Urban Fitness
Plan of action: I am working out two to three times per week at Urban Fitness with trainer Brian Bohrer plus walking outside several times per week. We started with low intensity exercises strength building cardio work and a little flexibility and “core” (abdominal) work. Every session we change the types of exercises and routines somewhat and the intensity is gradually increasing. Im also keeping a food journal that hes reviewing every week. He used to be significantly overweight himself and lost about 60 pounds and held it off so Im hopeful that what worked for him will work for me.
“My main goal is to work myself out of a job with each client ” Brian says. He wants to make fitness a lifestyle change for me so Ill keep up with it even after this challenge finishes.

Curl up with a good book

Although the massive stock of chain bookstores has its advantages only 13 cents out of every dollar spent at mega-bookstores goes back into the local economy. Not much when you consider that almost half of every dollar (45 cents) spent at a local independent bookstore is cycled back into the community. Wilmington offers its share of big-chain bookstores but for many passionate local readers the personality warmth and positive community impact of one of the Port Citys independent bookstores is enough to keep them coming back again and again. We asked four of our local indy booksellers to suggest some fabulous reading material for 2011. Ashley Peel

The Saltshaker Bookstore and Caf (705 South Kerr Avenue 910-350-1753) is a Christian-influenced indy bookseller. Co-owned since 1999 by sisters Claire Efird and Katherine Sullivan this bookstore and caf provides “Christ-honoring products in an atmosphere of encouraging and caring services.” Stop in and pick up your inspirational read for 2011. Efird recommends Rebecca Nichols Alonzos The Devil in Pew Number Seven a true story of violence persecution tragedy and closure in 1970s Whiteville North Carolina. “Its truly a story about forgiveness ” Efird says.

Two Sisters Bookery (318 Nutt Street 910-762-4444) is located inside Historic Downtown Wilmingtons Cotton Exchange. Though the location has been a bookstore since 1974 Two Sisters Bookery was founded in 1991 by sisters Mary House and Wanda Canady. Today the bookstore is owned by Brooks Preik and her daughter Angela Napier. Although especially proud of their local history childrens and southern fiction section Two Sisters Bookery delivers on their mission statement to “offer an eclectic selection of quality books and gifts.” Napier suggests reading Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes.

Nestled inside a pink-shuttered cottage is Wilmingtons largest independent bookstore: Pomegranate Books (4418 Park Avenue 910-452-1107). Pomegranate opened in 2005 and is currently owned by Kathleen Jewell a retired physician and book enthusiast. Sip a cup of coffee and peruse their wide selection of titles. For 2011 Jewell suggests reading Kate Braestrups Marriage and Other Acts of Charity. “Braestrup with her singular voice and graceful prose takes on the topic of marriage in this heartfelt treatise ” says Jewell. “Its so compelling it deserves a second read.”

McAllister & Solomon Used and Rare Books (4402-1 Wrightsville Avenue 910-350-0189) has been in the vintage book business for almost 18 years. Owners Steve McAllister and Linda Solomon say that the oldest book in stock is a 16th century world atlas with woodcut illustrations. Jumping ahead five centuries McAllister recommends Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color by Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll as a must-read for 2011. “Its a fascinating story about the life of a North Carolina furniture maker and free black man in the age of slavery ” McAllister says.

Yoga & You

Its 2011 and everything is new. Except your resolution which is the same as last year: Exercise more to lose weight and relieve stress. Besides the Loop walks the appointment with a personal trainer gym memberships one alternative to those endless reps and steps is yoga.

But a Southern Baptist leader made a public call earlier this year for Christians to avoid yoga. He said ” The meditate spiritual disciplines derived from eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God.” He understandably received plenty of outcries from those who defended the ancient practice.

Looking at our beautiful cover one can see both sides of the debate. Arms raised in the yoga Tree position could be interpreted as an act of worship. Evangelical Christians around the world worship in a similar raised arm stance albeit without the raised leg.

One Christian opponent of yoga claims that when a Christian practices yoga they “come out from under the Blood of Christ” which is pretty strong. Not going to touch that one.

But is it dangerous to me as a Christian to be stretching my legs and searching for better breath? Probably not. But the prayerful part the medative part of Hindu yoga could cause issues for a Christian. Not to the point that to do yoga exercises will automatically send one to hell.

Heres an analogy I like that I found on the Web:

“Just as a Christian who celebrates Halloween does not instantly become a pagan but a Christian who stands in the center of a pentagram and prays Wiccan prayers has really stepped away from the Christian worship as defined in the Gospel even if they are being grateful for the earth God has given them.”

So Christians might truly want to avoid the yoga theory or belief system. Our minds should not be directed away from God. A part of most yoga is mediation and this is where the danger lies; when one empties the mind we need to be very careful with what we then fill it.

Several years ago our office hired a fabulous Christian yoga instructor and during the meditation/ relaxation part she would read scripture from the Holy Bible. We filled our relaxed consciousness with the Word of God. It was a tremendous experience.

Traditional yoga is a practice of the Hindu religion. Yoga was first referenced in the Brahmanas a part of the Hindu Sruti spiritual literature in India between 900 and 500 BCE. It combines breathing exercises chants and postures.

Yoga not only relaxes the mind but “brings an overall sense of well-being ” says local yoga instructor Michelle Crittendon. “Its deeper than just the physical; it creates a balance in the body and also in the individuals life.” Crittendon is trained in Ashtanga yoga which is an athletic practice that synchronizes breathing with continuous position changes producing intense internal heat and profuse sweating to detoxify the muscles and organs. It improves circulation flexibility and stamina.

Another popular yoga Lyengar is the slowest and most basic form of yoga which makes it suitable for the novice the elderly and the disabled. Iyengar involves all of the components of the other forms yet often uses props to ease the body into positions.

Pat Bradford