I am back from the field (an Assyrian city in southeastern Turkey which I assist in directing an archaeological excavation). I plan to return to once or twice a week postings. This week’s post is broad in its scope: animals from the past, focusing on the use of animals in place names. One can imagine the 18th and 19th Century flock of pigeons that lent their name to Pigeon Top. Or the herds of buffalo that once roamed the Piedmont, today only preserved as a geographic entity: Buffalo Meadow; the lodge of beavers that resulted in Beaver Dam; the brace of bucks memorialized in Buck Mountain; the sleuth of bears at Bear Creek; the gang of Elk in Elk Run; the pack of Wolves at Wolf Trap Mountain (today known as Edgehill Mountain); a volery of birds at the Birdwood Golf Course; a plague of locusts at Locust Grove. We need to update this list for the 21st Century with a labor of moles, a bevy of otter, and a muster of peacocks. For more trivia on clusters of animals visit: Fun with words: collective nouns.
I cannot end this post without a nod to a 21st Century animal sighting website: www.beaverlikemammals.com. Well worth a visit if you have ever asked the question “Hey, is that a beaver?” Oddly enough, after visiting the site last week, I have seen 3 BLMs.