Nature Nearby

Nature Nearby: Batting a thousand

May 10, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ – Spring brings not only flowers, allergens and baseball bats, but also some small night fliers with unfortunate, unwarranted reputations as rabies carriers and bloodsuckers — our local bats. Although a small proportion of bats do, in fact, carry rabies, any warmblooded [read more]

Nature Nearby: Green invaders in Magruder Park

February 27, 2017

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk along the bike path near the Northwest Branch and you may notice signs about a research project at the edge of the woods. On a mild winter day, I saw a team of entomologists from the University of Maryland (UMD), one of whom told me that they were working on a project to [read more]

Nature Nearby: Interview with a box turtle

December 20, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — I was walking in Magruder Park on a mild fall day when I encountered a park resident that I and my various dogs have repeatedly encountered for at least the past 20 years: an Eastern box turtle, who I have presumptively named Ralph. Although several of my dogs, including my [read more]

Nature Nearby: Raiders of the lost dark

September 22, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — In mid-August, I went in my backyard about 3 a.m. to watch the Perseid meteor shower. While I did see several dozen meteors on the clear and pleasant night, I was surprised at how much glare was in the sky at that time. The meteor shower was less impressive than the one I’d seen [read more]

Nature Nearby: A hillside architect

July 20, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk along the bike path next to the Northwest Branch and you may notice a pair of conspicuous holes in an adjacent hill. Between the holes there is a faint path marked by worn grass and obscured by recent rains. While the path’s traveller has not shown himself during the [read more]

Nature Nearby: Who cooks for you?

June 13, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Hyattsville’s most familiar and vocal owl has been up to his spring calls again this year as he reclaims his territory or summons a mate. The barred owl, which is the second largest in Maryland and quite common in treed suburbs, has been a regular caller for several years in our [read more]

Nature Nearby: A smelly harbinger of spring

March 13, 2016

BY FRED SEITZ — Walk around the Trumbule Trail (the boardwalk through the Magruder Park swamp) and you’ll easily notice one of the earliest spring flowers: skunk cabbage. The mottled, reddish hoods (spathe) help protect this flower cluster in its earliest spring growth. The chemical process [read more]

Nature Nearby: A honk and a hink for the season

November 9, 2015

BY FRED SEITZ — Whether you are walking along the Northwest Branch Trail ,especially near the Port of Bladensburg, or sitting quietly at home, it is hard not to notice the call of our largest waterfowl, the Canada goose. The large wild goose species flies overhead  in V-formation this time of [read more]

Nature Nearby: A giant native supermarket and water purifier

September 23, 2015

BY FRED SEITZ — The end of summer is a good time to take a walk around Magruder Park and notice the giant (7 or 8 feett tall) cattails growing in the drainage ditches. These amazing plants, native to marshes in Europe and parts of Asia and the Americas, are a favorite of survival preppers and [read more]
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